The CoronaMelder app, which has been available for download since Monday, asks for access to the location settings on Android systems. That is privacy-sensitive information. Why does Google want to see it?
CoronaMelder uses bluetooth sensors to see which devices are nearby. However, in order to use those sensors, the user must first give permission to share location settings with the system.
According to Google, this has a simple reason: "A bluetooth scan can be used to collect information about the location of the user," the company writes on the website. It points out that stations, shops and restaurants often use bluetooth beacons, which makes it possible to determine the precise location of the user.
The user thus gives permission that an app could potentially request access to its location. Before that can happen, however, permission must be given one more time: to actually retrieve and store the location data. And the CoronaMelder does not ask for that.
In fact, if the app would do that, then the entire software framework that Google has devised for such apps will not work - an extra layer of security from Google. Users who want to make sure their location isn't shared can look it up in Android's app permissions menu.
In addition, the app works by sending out special ID codes to other devices. They change every fifteen minutes. Data cannot just be linked to a device, let alone a person.
Are you afraid that another app will secretly request your location thanks to the location settings? You can manually turn off the setting for individual apps via the 'Location' heading under 'App permissions' in the Android phone settings menu.