February 8, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Google installs non-removable tracking app on Android smartphones without asking

Google is installing MassNotify on smartphones of users to track contacts with coronavirus patients. She does this without permission and notifications, and the application itself is hiding under a completely different name, which prevents her from being found and removed from the system.

Google Spyware

Google was caught in the forced installation of the MassNotify application on Android smartphones. This utility is needed to warn the owners of gadgets that they could become infected with the coronavirus due to an infected person next to them. cnews

According to The Verge, the MassNotify application was created for residents of the state of Massachusetts (USA). Google installs it without user consent and in the background.

After getting into the device’s memory, it becomes impossible to delete MassNotify using standard Android tools. Importantly, this program is not in the list of installed utilities either in the smartphone itself or in the Google Play store. Users cannot launch it and see the interface, since it works in the background.

How the system works

MassNotify launched in mid-June 2021 and began rolling out to Massachusetts residents at the same time. Users began to complain that it is installed without any notifications, including on devices used by minors.

The program itself is designed to send notifications to people nearby that there is a COVID-infected person next to them. For example, if the owner of an Android gadget is on the list of infected, then MassNotify will send notifications to people around them via Bluetooth.

This will work if the user manually activates the COVID-19 infection notification feature in Android. This can be done in the Google menu in the smartphone settings. There will be an item “Notification of the risk of COVID-19 infection”, where you will need to select the desired region.

Google is fooling everyone

Google claims that the presence of MassNotify in the list of applications installed on a smartphone does not mean that the program is turned on and working. According to company representatives, this means that it is now simply built into the system.

A user of the Ycombinator portal under the nickname 015UUZn8aEvW wrote that he was able to contact Google technical support and ask her a number of questions about the application. In particular, he asked why the MassNotify application appeared on his phone without his knowledge and permission. Google representatives dodged a direct answer.

Instead, they stated that you can see MassNotify’s activity status in Google’s settings on your smartphone. “In this menu, you can enable or disable MassNotify at any time,” – said representatives of Google.

However, this statement of workers of the Internet giant is far from the truth, according to the user Ycombinator under the pseudonym madars. He wrote that it is impossible to see the status of MassNotify and disable it in the system.

According to madars, it is also impossible to find this application on Google Play by its name, which complicates the process of removing it.

The user madars finally managed to find MassNotify on Google Play under a completely different name. The application is hidden under the name Exposure Notifications Settings Feature – MA. It will be presented under the same name in the list of installed applications in the smartphone settings.

Nobody likes the app

The Exposure Notifications Settings Feature – MA utility, which Google imposes on the residents of Massachusetts, at the time of publication of the material, thanks to the efforts of the Internet giant, had been downloaded more than 1 million times. However, it was added to the store only a few days ago, on June 17, 2021.

In retaliation for Google’s arbitrariness, users drowned the app in negative reviews. At the time of publication of the material, the utility has collected almost 730 ratings, and its overall rating was only 1.1 points out of five.

The description for Exposure Notifications Settings Feature – MA indicates that the version of this application is minted810030-v3. CNews managed to find a related utility in the Google Play catalog, which, unlike this one, is not hidden and is called MassNotify. However, Google has not sent it to anyone yet, as can be judged by the number of downloads.

The version of this program is minted810030; it was uploaded to the catalog on June 10, 2021, and during this time it was downloaded by just over 1000 people. She has a higher rating, four out of five based on 33 reviews. Screenshots to the description of both programs are identical. …

Source link