NewsCovering Colorado


How safe is Colorado's new COVID-19 tracking app?

Posted at 6:43 AM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 09:06:11-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — With the state rolling out a new app to alert Coloradans if they've been potentially exposed to coronavirus, some are raising concerns about privacy.

News5 spoke with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to find out if your personal information is safe while using the new technology.

State leaders say the new app, Exposure Notification (EN) Express, is free and does not collect your health data or personal information.

"It doesn't check your IP address, your name, or where you are. It is a Bluetooth exchange based on the time when you are in proximity with another person's phone with that functionality turned on," said Sarah Tuneberg, Innovation Team lead for the Colorado State Health Department.

Exposure Notification (EN) Express works when two people who both have the app are near one another. Tokens are shared in the background between the devices and then stored anonymously on a public health server. The only data that is shared is those anonymous tokens which are deleted after 14 days.

"If we cross paths with somebody for a certain amount of time, we can come back and know if we test positive," said Tuneberg. "We don't do it ourselves so we don't have to know anybody's name or phone numbers."

For those who want to opt-out, the state health department says there's no need. It is completely voluntary and users are required to opt-in to enable notifications.

iPhone users will get a prompt to upgrade their operating system in the coming weeks. Once they perform that upgrade, they will get a prompt to enable exposure logging. Android phones will get a prompt in late September or early October and can follow a similar process.