Lawsuit Filed Against Massachusetts for Installing COVID ‘Spyware’ on a Million Devices

The state Department of Public Health reportedly worked with Google to install the program.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health is facing a lawsuit for allegedly installing “spyware” onto more than a million personal devices of residents.
  • The health department worked with Google to install the software on Android devices without the users’ knowledge.
  • Named plaintiffs Robert Wright and Johnny Kula are representing individuals who had the state’s “COVID Exposure Settings: US-MA” app auto-installed without consent.
  • The group is represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) which is a nonpartisan civil rights group. 
  • As the case is ongoing, the NCLA has requested that the U.S. The District Court for the District of Massachusetts should prohibit further app installation on personal devices.
PLAINTIFFS COUNCIL’S COMMENTS:
  • NCLA Senior Litigation Counsel Peggy Little commented on the case, saying, “This ‘android attack,’ deliberately designed to override the constitutional and legal rights of citizens to be free from government intrusions upon their privacy without their consent, reads like dystopian science fiction—and must be swiftly invalidated by the court.”
  • Sheng Li, litigation counsel for NCLA said of the case argued the government “may not secretly install surveillance devices on your personal property without a warrant—even for a laudable purpose. For the same reason, it may not install surveillance software on your smartphone without your awareness and permission.”
BACKGROUND:
  • COVID tracking apps have been used in other countries to thwart protests, particularly in China, where demonstrators were recently unable to access the money in their banks for several weeks in the summer of this year, American Faith previously reported.
  • The government was able to stop the protest with the help of the COVID surveillance app, making it impossible for protesters to travel to the province of Henan.
  • Thanks to programs put in place during COVID lockdowns, citizens are unable to access public transport and public spaces, such as restaurants and malls, and are not allowed to travel across the country.