For months, privacy experts like Edward Snowden were warning about governments using virus contact tracing phone apps to conduct mass surveillance on citizen populations. As most of us know, governments are already spying on domestic citizens, but if they have access to data from the contact tracing apps, it gives them yet another tool that helps to give them a clearer picture of everyone’s day-to-day activities.
The human rights group Amnesty International conducted a study analyzing COVID-19 contact tracing apps and found that applications for at least three countries — Norway, Bahrain, and Kuwait — had dangerous security flaws. The researchers looked at many of the popular contact tracing apps from 11 different countries: Algeria, Bahrain, France, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Tunisia, and United Arab Emirates.
The apps that had the worst security flaws directly collected GPS data from users which matched with their identity, while the safer apps relied on anonymized Bluetooth signals.
In one strange case, the contact tracing app called “BeAware Bahrain” was used to recruit contestants for a TV game show. In the show, called Are You At Home? the host used data that the government collected through the app to randomly call individuals to see if they were following all social distancing guidelines. If they were deemed to be good citizens, they were given a financial reward. By downloading the app, users were unknowingly giving their permission to appear on the game show….