Are these people conflating two different things here? Apple and Google pushed out the API to allow this functionality, even to older phones, through the app store.
The API needs to be manually activated through settings and doesn’t have any UI or icon - other than the on/off slider in settings.
The user then needs to download a separate COVID tracking app that makes use of it. In my case, the RKI COVID Warn App. Only when I have installed the warn app does the API do anything active - and I still had to confirm that I wanted to enable the COVID API from within the app.
The API was announced, that it would be pushed to all devices (iOS and Android). But the user still needs to manually download and install an actual tracing app that makes use of it.
Looking at the article, the Google response is talking about the API that they pushed out, whereas the article is talking about the MassNotify app. I’m wondering if they are conflating the two and saying the COVID API in the settings is the MassNotify app, which is wrong.
The article is very poorly written and just seems to try and blur the lines and not actually try and define what is going on here. It sounds like it is written by someone who was panicked by the words COVID appearing in the settings and raised the alarm, without actually understanding what is going on and everybody else is just jumping on the bandwagon, without understanding the issue.
From the Verge:
The feature was “automatically distributed,” Google said in a statement to 9to5Google , but users still have to actively opt in to send and receive exposure notifications.
Here, it sounds very much like Google is talking about the API itself, not an app.