Iran government’s Coronavirus diagnosis app is more like a spy tool for millions

Coronavirus COVID19 app users in Iran

Since the rise of Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) Iran has recorded the second most number of confirmed cases with more than 600 deaths outside China but Iran has not been a trustable government when it comes to something that is controlled by the government.

Vice has reported that the Iranian government has published an app named AC19 that poses as a tool to help diagnose the presence of the coronavirus (which is a bogus claim by itself) and asks for real-time location data of the users to tell users whether or not they should go to the hospital which is not necessary as per the basic use of the app.

It was also noted that the location permission request in the app pop-up in English and about 40 percent of Android users in Iran have phones with an OS old enough that they won’t get that pop-up at all.

The app AC19 is developed by Sarzamin Housmand (formerly Smart Land Solutions) which is also known for developing government clones of Telegram which is more used by the government as a surveillance tool.

Currently, it’s not known what the Iranian government is doing with the data received on the app, but MJ Azari Jahromi, ICT minister of Iran has said on Twitter that millions of users were submitting data, apparently to help create a risk map. The virus infection is racing at a high rate and there are various concerns that the Iranian government is underreporting its coronavirus infection and mortality rates to maintain the appearance of control and quash opposition.

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