Senate Democrats question Apple about COVID-19 screening app

Several U.S. Senate Democrats are questioning Apple CEO Tim Cook about the privacy of the company’s new COVID-19 screening app and website.

Apple’s OVID-19 screening app and website were developed in partnership with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The White House, and FEMA.

Democrats question Apple. With Apple's new COVID-19 app and website, users can answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms in order to receive CDC recommendations on next steps. They can also access a set of resources from the CDC to help them stay informed and get the support they need.
With Apple’s new COVID-19 app and website, users can answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms in order to receive CDC recommendations on next steps. They can also access a set of resources from the CDC to help them stay informed and get the support they need.

Rebecca Kern and Mark Gurman for Bloomberg:

Senators Bob Menendez, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to the company on Friday expressing concern “for the safety and security of Americans’ private health data.” They want to know about data-sharing practices and safeguards, and whether the app complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The senators are also seeking information on Apple’s agreements with federal or state governments for the development of the app, according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg.

MacDailyNews Take: In the quest to be seen as “doing something,” some reveal how much nothing they’re really doing.

Along with a clear link to the company’s privacy policy, Apple’s COVID-19 Screening Tool website even more clearly states: “Our Commitment to Privacy. Apple is not collecting your answers from the screening tool. To help improve the site, Apple collects some information about how you use it. The information collected will not personally identify you.”


      1. Perhaps, but regulating interstate commerce is an enumerated power. The power to oversee private businesses engaged in such commerce is necessarily implied.

  1. Senate Democrats, and Democrats in general in the 21st century can pretty much kiss my butt. I do not know what has happened to that party, and believe me, I’ve tried, but I no longer consider any of them to be mentally sound. This may as well read, ‘Waa, waa, waa, waa. Blah blah, blah blah. I need my meds’. Seriously. Pfft. Never voting for that poop again.

    1. You prefer to vote for the party that is preferentially allocating life-saving resources to the states based on which governors have made the most obsequious phone calls?

      1. Keep lying. Voters know the truth. Your lies will bury you.

        Here’s some unsolicited advice: Turn off MSDNC and CNN. Stop reading the garbage NYT. You might even regain your sanity, if you try it.

        1. I agree, don’t listen to the media, listen to the words coming out of the president’s mouth: “I say, Mike … don’t call the woman in Michigan. I say, if they don’t treat you right, don’t call.” – D. Trump, 3/27/2020

          1. Your entertainment news sources have already convinced you that your president isn’t a thin skinned egotistical reactionary jerk. The rest of the world can see otherwise directly from his own words and actions.

            Surely the only reason US hospitals are struggling today is because of something some democrat did 3 years ago. That is all his supporters have to offer. Don’t pick on him! China is bad, Trump is good! Believe my shallow labels!

            Do you ever think about the inconsistent junk he spews? How is the make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach what you like to see in an effective leader? Tweety can’t string together a cohesive message, even when limited to 140 characters.

            Finally, he is completely ineffective in dissuading US corporations from continuing tondo business in China. Your arrogant president will be dead and buried long before Apple makes iPhones in the US. Is your loyalty to your corporate leader or your reality TV wannabe star?

        2. Talk about delusional. CNN did not make up the compilation of Trump’s random advice of the last few months.
          I bet you think that the garbage that Fox has been spouting as well is 100% correct. From virus hoax, to impeachment conspiracy theories that organization has been promoting dangerous ideas that will lead to more deaths.
          How about Georgia’s governor who finally is putting shelter in place stating that until now there were no indications that the virus is infectious before symptoms appear. We have all know since February that symptoms can take over 10 days to appear. How can a governor of a state not know that?
          Are you seriously saying that Republican politicians have been acting responsibly over the COVID-19 epidemic. Most have had their head up their arses denying that there is any danger to the population. You should be ashamed of yourselves by putting politics over people’s lives.
          Democratic politicians are demonstrating that they are acting far more responsibility in this crisis and at the rate this is going the Republicans are going to lose the Presidency and the Senate by their lack of action.

      2. No, I just want the party that wants to spend 2 billion dollars now on a new voting system. It’s very timely and a grand use of resources at this time.

        Oh, wait a minute…maybe I want the party that wants to spend energy and resources on “renewing” the drug war…even though it’s a war we’ve been fighting for 40 yrs and we seem to make no progress.

        Regardless…it’s a win-win…both are very timely and a good use of $$, even though we have a little debt already.

        1. So, you agree with the President’s comment in a Fox News interview that if America increased voter turnout, “ you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” It is so much better to systematically reduce voter turnout by using the pandemic as an excuse to eliminate most of the polling stations where working folks (or unemployed folks) can vote. Some reasonable people think that it might be worth spending a little of the relief money to preserve free elections.

          1. Tedious and tone deaf, you are. Your need to merely needle covered your eyes. Besides, stop the extrapolation and placing upon my words supposition that wasn’t explicit, or implicit.

            Whatever millions, billions, or trillions we need to spend at this moment are to be laser-focused on the immediate need health & econ). Both “programs” mentioned are outside of the essential….they’re both expenditures we can live without.

            Supremely more pertinent, we don’t have ANY amount to spend that isn’t RED.

        2. Others might prefer that the President have a laser focus on the coronavirus crisis, rather than using it as cover for his continued retaliation against anybody involved in exposing his Ukraine misadventure. It is not the function of an Inspector General to only inspect what the potential wrongdoers are willing to have inspected, and only to report on wrongdoing that the wrongdoers are willing to have reported.

          The firing of the Intellegence Community Inspector General should raise all manner of red flags over whether this Administration is going to allow even minimal oversight over the $500,000,000,000.00 slush fund it just received… if the “signature message” repudiating oversight had not already done so.

          I worked directly under elected officials for thirty years, and advised dozens of others. They would have sold their children to get even a few hundred thousand in taxpayer money that they could use freely to reward their allies and trade for campaign donations without any oversight from another official or the public.

          As Lord Acton pointed out, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Handing somebody a half-trillion dollars to spend without oversight is getting pretty close to absolute power.

          I would suggest that there are better targets for the Senate’s attention than what Apple has on offer in the App Store.

          1. Another extrapolation. Shall I say, “of course we need fair elections,” as if my post in anyway implied otherwise?

            Was the last one not fair? How about ‘08, ‘04, ’00, or any of the voting years following the cycle of the time? Oh, “the chad”, you want to say.

            The “need” is positioned as if the cliff is months away and, if we don’t, we’re f’d. Yes, I know your view. Don wants to wrestle the actual election away so he can be the Sovereign forever. You fret the imaginary often and you enjoy sowing it as well.

            1. The need isn’t months away. it isn’t imaginary, and it would require urgent action no matter who was President. If it isn’t addressed now with the other impacts of the emergency, then when?

              Like many other states, we here in TEXAS have already postponed primary elections. Even in July, there will be many voters (and elections workers) unwilling to face a crowd, and we have only restricted provisions here for mail-in ballots. Note that the median election worker here and in most states is well over 60.

              Our local elections have been pushed from May to November, so the officials with expiring terms will get an extra six months in office without a public mandate. Other states are determined to carry on under complex conditions that will prevent many—possibly most—voters from participating.

              In WISCONSIN, some cities have shuttered over 90% of their polling locations because they cannot hire workers for more, and those same cities have also shut down public transit so voters cannot reach the remaining locations.

              In many states, absentee ballots are sharply limited and must bear the physical signature of a witness who saw the voter sign it. Those who practice distancing cannot do that. Many states have fixed deadlines that overworked and understaffed elections offices will have trouble meeting.

              In OHIO: most in-person voting is prohibited. You will only be allowed to vote if you request an absentee by-mail ballot. That means voters have to print a form, fill it out and return it to the board of elections no later than April 25, by noon. Voters can also call the board and request an application be mailed to them. People without phone access are apparently out of luck. So are those whose requests cannot be processed by the reduced elections staff in time to be received by mail before Election Day.

              After the application is filled out and returned, the board will mail a ballot to the voter’s registered address. That ballot then has to be filled out by the voter and returned.

              There are several deadlines for that as well.

              If you want to drop off your ballot in person, that can be done at the Board by the close of the polls on Election Day, April 28. If the absentee ballot is returned by mail, it must be postmarked by April 27, and received no later than May 8.

              None of that is imaginary, either.

            2. You are determining it as “need” and as a “need,” there’s an implication of previous failure and, in the current reality that needs serious resource prioritization, it better be a dire need, to expend as required. Don’t ya think?

              Curious to me…very curious to me, there was absolutely no response to the previous elections as being failures and explicitly pointing to this “need” that you, seemingly put into the “emergency” category. Another siren. Another 2 trill.

            3. Were you not present when there was, in fact, a dramatic federal and state response to the 2000 election follies? The “hanging chad” thing was bad, but it wasn’t seen as grounds for canceling elections, just for pouring a lot of money into voting reform. This thing is actually cancelling elections, or preventing them from being held with a representative electorate, yet you are objecting to even spending money on it as part of the national coronavirus response.

              And yes, I do regard imminent threats to our constitutional republican form of government as an emergency.

      3. What are those states you speak of? Was there ANY relationship of resources granted to the reality/need on “the ground?”

        You say “obsequious.” You were obviously on the call, as that’s quite nuanced knowledge.

        1. You actually (still) believe that Trump wants to be King.

          Come November, or, let’s say in March ‘21, when he’s “on the throne”, one of us is going to look like a complete fool. I’m not a betting person, but this is one situ, that I’d wager a lot. Come that point in time, it will be known that a “syndrome” is not just a “tag.”

          1. Your ilk spends more time accusing others of TDS than using facts to reach reasonable agreement. Slow government response has been corrected identified in several countries. Only one leader has spent so much energy claiming early victories and then coming up with excuses why his prior statements were hogwash.

            It’s just a flu, right?
            April sunshine will magically kill the virus, right?
            Anyone can get a test, right?
            Malaria meds are a surefire cure for this virus, right?
            It’s a political victory if the numbers of dead end up less than 100000, right?
            International health agencies and China and the Democrats and the Easter Bunny all conspired to make the POTUS look bad when he utters all these lies out of his own mouth, right?

    1. I like it that my representatives can do more than one thing at a time. Oversight is always good. Corporations should NOT have all the money and political power, even progressive liberal Kalifornia computer maker Apple.

      I don’t like the fact that the current corrupt executive changes his selfish little mind as the wind blows, claiming credit whenever the wind is at our backs and blowing smoke up our asses the rest of the time. That cancer needs to go.

  2. the only thing we can hope for is that all these brain dead trump worshipers here catch it.. and die. the world will be better off, not to mention these comment threads..

    1. I would normally not wish Trump worshippers harm but not that that utthead-in-chief told 3M not to ship masks to Canada, they can all go eat Sh*t and die. Hard to believe what we did for the US at the start of WW2 and during 9/11.
      We may forgive but we will never forget……

      1. For the benefit of US folk who haven’t heard, the President ordered 3M not to ship masks to Canada, which has no N95 manufacturing of its own and relies almost entirely on the 3M contract (just as the US Northeast relies on Canadian electricity). The US also confiscated a plane load of masks in Thailand just as they were about to take off to supply first responders in Berlin. I’m sure we can expect reciprocal treatment going forward from our former allies.

  3. They sent Tim Cook a letter.

    It’s not like they dragged him to Washington to testify under oath. There is such a thing as REASONABLE government supervision.

      1. Democrats are getting more desperate by the second. Trump will win and win big, ain’t nobody got time for creepy wandering hands hair sniffing Joe, or heart attack Bernie, or collapsing Crooked Hil-lie-ry, or billionaire boofhead Bloombug.

        Poor little Democrats… no way out for them, not a leadership bone in their bodies, and handicapped by putrid face-stretched Pelosi.

        Sleazy dumocrats only hope is coronavirus taking out trump. That’s it, that’s their only hope, and what a sad, sorry forlorn desperate hope it is

        1. It is people like you that has helped to make the USA, once the most respected nation in the world, a laughing stock. Re-read what you just wrote. Puerile prose (look that up as I am sure you haven’t the faintest).
          What breaks my heart (having lived in the US for a number of years), is that 60% of Americans are simply nice people. Family oriented, caring, normal people. Then there is the other 40%, like you, that under Trump crawled come out of the cesspool to give the world the impression that the US is a nation of self-centered, uncaring, greedy, tribalistic, neanderthals who never cared for historical alliances that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents and so on, have forged over the years….often by shedding blood.
          I know that for 60% of you this does not apply but unfortunately, because of Trump and his simpleton followers, this is all the world seeing now and will remember for years and years to come.
          You are headed back to the days of ‘Yankee go home’. I hope you are proud. TO the other 60%, I feel your pain.
          I am also disappointed in MDN that they do not block these comments better but perhaps that suggests that they form part of the 40%.

          1. The time that the US was “once the most respected nation in the world” was when the country as a whole demonstrated a strong sense of patriotism, and mostly kept to itself. Borders were enforced, schools focused on education, and there was a strong industrial base.

            I am always amused at know-it-all liberals who profess to be smarter than everyone else, while promoting a political party that believes man has any significant effect on the global climate, and profess to be able to “spend their way out of debt”, amongst other fantasies, such as eliminating fossil fuels immediately without totally disrupting the US economy and standard of living.

            If you have “lived in the US for a number of years”, then one would assume that perhaps you have also lived elsewhere, and should be well aware that the US is BY FAR the best country to live in on our planet. Trump is a product of a free and fair election, and the Dems can blame only themselves for his presidency. I voted for him happily over Hillary Clinton, and will vote for him again in November.

            It does not surprise me in the least that you prefer his supporters comments to be blocked, and you can feel comfortable that all of the hateful, vile comments in this thread that wish others dead or ill are from those commenters with your political beliefs. BTW, feel free to live elsewhere. I think that you would find common ground with those in Russia or Cuba.

            1. You are entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to make up “alternative facts,” whether about the views of your opponents (that most Democrats favor the immediate elimination of all fossil fuels) or of physical science (that high levels of greenhouse gasses cannot alter world climate). That last “fantasy” was a commonplace in scientific literature well over a century ago, not something Al Gore invented in 2006.

              You needn’t worry about anyone becoming ill or dead. We have it on the highest authority that there is no danger:

              “And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” — President Trump at a press conference on February 26.

              “And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” — President Trump on March 10.

              Hoping that one’s opponents will die in a hoax epidemic is clearly just a rhetorical flourish.

            2. The tests are beautiful. Anyone who wants a test can get it. We have plenty of ventilators. These non-approved drugs, will work. Let us fire navy captains who protect their crew.
              I am happy that you are pleased to vote for Trump. I just hope it is not your parents, grandparents or children die because this person has no experience and uses nepotism with his experienced children and relatives to run the show….oh wait, they do not have experience.
              People are dying left and right and you think he is a good president? My God you have low standards.
              Give you a hint bud….this has nothing to do with being left or right, it has everything to do with being dead or not. I live in Canada (also known as the greatest country on earth) and unfortunately, your bozo president’s incompetence will affect us and others economically and our view of having the US as a trusted neighbour. I imagine you are proud of that too.

            3. @TxUser: “You are entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to make up “alternative facts,”

              Right back at you. From what I am reading here, the undisputed King for extrapolation, implication and innuendo garnered from false news reports while overdosing on CNN and the New York Times. Practice what you preach!

            4. Dude, US borders weren’t tightly enforced for the first two centuries. The official policy of the US was to bring in as many white skinned poor for northern sweatshops and as many Africans as possible for free slave labor in the south. If one had a pulse, one immediately be came a naturalized citizen. The policy only started to reverse when women and minorities were finally given their right to vote. Then Jim Crow and border enforcement became the core interests of the former plantation owners. Slums exist today thanks to centuries of segregation. If you cannot find anything better tondo than to bitch about foreigners and international organizations, and you openly hate the way an immigrant looks, walks, or talks, why would you expect the US to ahve any respect from them? Bad attitudes towards others undermines US credibility, it weakens the US, and it ensures the US is politically isolated. Economic competitors like China are already winning massive trade deals globally while small minded Americans want to wall themselves into an enclave. Get a clue. Globalism has occurred for millenia. The empire your globalist grandfathers created is still hugely supported by Wall Street and every company traded there, including Apple. If you choose to ignore the benefits of trade and rebel against multiculturalism, you will lose. You yourself undermine your stated values when you endorse Apple products made in China.

              This site should do itself a favor and plot out how many good solid US manufacturing jobs your hero created and destroyed every month of his term. The date is available. Why don’t you see if he walked his talk????

        2. The POTUS was a big dem donor for decades until he spotted an opening to cash in on his TV fame as a repub. According to most sources, he never voted at all. He certainly had no credentials as a repub, everyone in that party openly hated him until the election. Now they tolerate him publicly as long as he takes the public focus off them. He is not conservative. Not financially, religiously, not socially. His personal lifestyle is anything but conservative.

          But you knew that. You still choose to believe the con.

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