Apple has updated its COVID-19 screening tool with an option for users to anonymously share their responses with Apple, state public health agencies, and the CDC, including their age, symptoms, and more, as noted by TechCrunch.
Apple says the information collected will be used to improve the tool and to better understand the spread of COVID-19. The company ensures that no personally identifiable information will be shared, such as your name or your phone number. Your information will also be aggregated with others’ responses as an additional privacy measure.
Apple’s commitment to privacy:
If you choose to share your responses, they will be provided to Apple in a way that does not personally identify you. Apple will then provide reports to the CDC and approved state public health agencies. Only information that has been both de-identified and aggregated will be provided to the CDC and state public health agencies. This means that no information that could identify you or your individual responses to the tool will be included. Information about the pre-existing conditions you select will also not be shared; only the total number of conditions that you select.
The CDC and approved state public health agencies may only use the information to improve the tool and for purposes related to managing the COVID‑19 pandemic. Further, the CDC and state public health agencies are required to comply with privacy and security protections, including not further disclosing the information and implementing appropriate safeguards.
Apple’s screening tool allows users to answer a series of questions regarding risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms and receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider.
The tool, available online and as an iPhone app, also offers access to COVID-19 resources to help people stay informed and get support. For example, there are answers to frequently asked questions about the virus.
The screening tool can be used by anyone who is 18 years of age or older in the United States. Apple says the tool does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities.