Breaking News
More () »

Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Can your personal data be leaked if you download a contact tracing app?

A cyber security expert said it is unlikely your data will be released.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Since the pandemic started, applications for your phone, like MContain and the new exposure notification for iPhone, have launched as a way to let you know if you have been exposed. With any app on your phone, you typically need to consent to the app using some of your personal information to let it help you, which makes some users worry. 

Cyber security expert Kan Yang at the University of Memphis said if you use one of these apps it is slim your information will be leaked. 

"People can use this technology notification and not worry that their identity will be lost or tracked by someone else," Yang said. 

MContain, which was developed at U of M, will alert your phone if another user with the app has tested positive and will also alert others if you had the virus. Of course, you must provide your test results for these apps. 

Yang said the iPhone feature, which is not yet available in the Mid-South, will not track your location or share your data. 

 "They are using Bluetooth and not GPS," Yang said. "So it will not track where your location is and it will not track where you travel from like your home, the workplace, or the supermarket." 

If you are still fearful that your information could be hacked or accidentally shared, Yang said you do not have to utilize these apps. They are merely a tool for self-awareness and probably will not prevent a cluster of cases. 

 "If you do not want to share your test results then you can just never do this," Yang said. "The user has a choice."