Apple is very much part of many of our daily lives. We are reminded to close our exercise rings, get to sleep, and are alerted when our heart rate surges. Now we can expect to be reminded to quarantine if we’ve recently been to an airport or travelled internationally. When does a helpful reminder become “Big Brother” watching over our every move? Is an Apple quarantine alert one step too far?
A New Quarantine Notification Alert From Apple Maps
Kyle Gray noticed a message popped up after recently visiting an airport:
Apple Maps now sends you a notification if you’ve recently been to an airport pic.twitter.com/BJSs2c6CQM
— Kyle Seth Gray (@kylesethgray) July 24, 2020
Gray is a health care technology professional.
9to5Mac claims this is “likely using on-device intelligence due to Apple’s stringent privacy-preserving approach to features like this.” While I hope that is the case, Apple provided movement data to authorities earlier on in the pandemic that showed how many were walking, driving, or using public transport in areas that were under lockdown. While individual user data was masked, Apple still had it.
As another datapoint, I visited Los Angeles International (LAX), San Francisco International (SFO), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), and Newark (EWR) this week and did NOT receive any notifications. Perhaps the app only alerts you if you have been outside the country? I do not use the app, preferring to use Google Maps for my navigation, so that could also be the reason.
I’m resigned to the fact that there are no more secrets in this world. There’s a record for everything I say, every website I visit, every street I walk down, and every post I wrote. Privacy is a but a figment of our imagination; a relic of a bygone era. Thus, I’m not sure why this is even newsworthy, but the whole idea of, say, my devices suddenly locking down if I do not quarantine does give me pause…
Are you comfortable with Apple reminding you to quarantine after a trip to the airport?