How COVIDaware MN protects your privacy
Together, we can slow the spread of COVID in Minnesota!
COVIDaware MN uses COVID-19 exposure notification technology developed by Apple and Google in partnership with the nonprofit Pathcheck Foundation and the State of Minnesota.
COVIDaware MN is designed to protect your privacy. The app uses the Bluetooth feature of your phone, and a secure, decentralized design to determine if you have been in contact with a positive case.
Random keys (a string of numbers) are assigned to each phone using the COVIDaware MN app. Each user’s random key changes every 10-20 minutes to further protect their identity. When an app user comes into close contact with another app user, their random keys are exchanged using Bluetooth to determine the length of time and how close the phones are to each other.
No personally identifiable or location information is collected, stored, or exchanged. The app does not record your location or use your GPS. Random codes for close contacts are stored in a user’s device for 14 days. After 14 days, or once an alert is triggered, the keys are permanently erased.
No information that will identify you or your location ever leaves your phone.
You can stop using it, and start using it again.
The app will never collect or process any personally identifiable information.
How the technology works
If you have a positive COVID-19 test – If you test positive for COVID-19, you can choose to use the app to notify other COVIDaware MN app users who may have had close contact with you. To send the notification, you enter a valid PIN provided by public health, usually the Minnesota Department of Health. This PIN is randomly generated by public health. It is only used so you can enter a positive diagnosis in the COVIDaware MN app, and only if you choose to do so. The app will match your random keys with any other phones with the app that have been in close contact with your phone over the last 14 days. If you get an exposure notificationYou will receive a push notification of a potential exposure if the app detects that you have been exposed to another user who has tested positive AND that user shares their positive information in the application. In addition to the notification, you will have access to resources and guidance on next steps.
Does the app share my personal information if I’ve been exposed?
No, your personal information is not collected, stored or shared by COVIDaware MN. Every phone that has the app installed regularly downloads the list of anonymous keys for users that have tested positive. The app then compares that list with the list of anonymous keys it has encountered during the past two weeks. This matching does not happen on a centralized server, but directly on each user’s device. If a match is found, the app uses the duration of the exposure and the strength of the Bluetooth signal to determine if the exposure meets a risk threshold established by latest international research. If the risk threshold is met, you will receive a push notification on your phone that you have had a possible exposure. You can also check for exposures in the app anytime.
Does the app share my personal information if I test positive for COVID-19?
No, your personal information is not collected, stored or shared by the exposure notification system. If you test positive for COVID-19, you can choose to share the anonymous keys your phone has transmitted. Anyone you have exchanged keys with in the last 14 days will receive a push notification alerting them to a possible exposure—but the alert will not tell them where they were exposed or who exposed them.