Getting a free vaccine effectively ensuring your survival in face of a deadly plague, not reading the thing you signed before you got your shot, then going on the Internet to decry the experience as an attack on your personal liberties by foreign entities – is there a more American way to spend a Saturday morning?
Not this summer, there isn’t. Because this story has it all, including communists and Samsung, whose name is among those peddled by the mildly annoyed masses speculating about Google’s potential co-conspirators who orchestrated the greatest attack on their privacy since that time they’ve last unlocked their phone.
Lo and behold the offending tool: the Exposure Notifications Settings Feature. Featurette, more like. Made by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. And automatically installed on your smartphone, Galaxy or otherwise, if you have opted to leave your phone number with whatever state facility you got your shot at.
“Yesterday app showed up in app list on store, today it installed itself without my consent! If bakers not bad enough!!! Keep your Communist spyware out of people’s lives,” wrote one R.V. in his Google Play Store review, using what’s presumably his real name.
“I have no idea how they pulled this off, but it had to involve either Google, or Samsung, or both,” concludes L.N, another privacy-conscious individual review-bombing the said app.
This goes on for about 700 more entries, as of Monday morning, PST. According to public caching data, mostly from Google itself, a few hundred reviews have already been deleted. This isn’t to say there’s evidence of an actual conspiracy here; those were most likely removed by their very authors after they’ve discovered what has actually transpired.
So, no, Samsung hasn’t helped Google install communist spyware on your daughter’s Galaxy device. But if you’re so worried about the likelihood of such a thing transpiring, might I interest you in finding out about Android’s lord and savior that is Samsung’s software update policy?