Massachusetts government officials worked with Google to illegally install tracking software into over one million Android phones during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a proposed class action lawsuit.
The suit was filed Tuesday in federal court by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan civil rights firm. It accused the state health department of “conspiring with a private company to hijack residents’ smartphones” without the user’s consent or even knowledge.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health worked with Google to secretly install a Covid Tracing App onto over 1 million Android mobile devices without the device owners’ knowledge or permission.
— New Civil Liberties Alliance (@NCLAlegal) November 17, 2022
In what NCLA described as a “blatant disregard for civil liberties,” the suit describes the installed spyware as both tracking and recording the owner’s movements and personal contacts.
The state is alleged to have used Google technology to discreetly install the tracking apps as part of its contact tracing program.
The class-action suit targets the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) for violating both the state and U.S. Constitutions.
The actions alleged by NCLA are “not a tool that the (DPH) may lawfully employ in its efforts to combat COVID-19,” according to the filing.
It was in April 2021 when the contact tracing app was made available for state residents to voluntarily download onto their phones. The suit claims that few people took the opportunity, and this led to DPH officials conspiring with Google for secret installation on over one million devices.
Alarmingly, NLCA said the app keeps a constant connection and exchange of data with nearby devices and records these connections. That record may be time-stamped and then stored in the phone for possible use by DPH, Google, and developers of the app.
The suit further claimed that phone numbers and personal messages can be stored with the data.
The plaintiffs asserted their belief that the spyware is still present on most of the over one million devices on which it was installed. As opposed to other states that used Google technology to develop contact-tracing apps, Massachusetts is alleged to have gone beyond voluntary usage.
NLCA said that the Bay State is the only one in the nation to covertly install the Contract Tracing App on devices within its borders. If its claims are proven genuine, it is another grievous example of the government using COVID hysteria to run roughshod over constitutional rights.