Virus FILE 3

CHEYENNE – A free mobile app designed to help with COVID-19 contact tracing will now be available in Wyoming, Gov. Mark Gordon announced Wednesday.

The Care19 Diary app, which was launched in North Dakota and South Dakota in April, keeps record of a person’s location for potential use in contact tracing if the user then tests positive for the coronavirus. The app only keeps track of location data, with users remaining otherwise anonymous, and histories can be deleted at any point.

“Here in Wyoming, the more citizens who choose to voluntarily participate, the more effective our fight against COVID-19 will be,” Gordon said in a prepared statement. “The information this app gathers can save lives. Embracing this technology is one more way we can show that we’re all in this together.”

The state entered a partnership with North Dakota-based ProudCrowd for the app, which is available on most cellphones. ProudCrowd CEO Tim Brookins, who also works for Microsoft, said in a statement he was excited to see the app expand into Wyoming.

“We built these products with privacy as our primary design point – wide-scale adoption is the ultimate goal!” Brookins said in a prepared statement.

The news release announcing the partnership states the app “will help enhance the extensive contact tracing already occurring in the state.” It also encourages people who download the app to review the tracking diary to ensure recorded locations are correct.

The mobile app has drawn mixed reviews from users in the Dakotas, with many commenters on the Apple App Store and Google Play App Store complaining about its ability to log locations accurately. The Washington Post and other outlets have also reported on findings that show some data from the app has been shared with third-party companies in previous uses.

Tom Coulter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at tcoulter@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3124. Follow him on Twitter at @tomcoulter_.

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