Louisiana Department of Health COVID Defense - Privacy Policy

Effective as of January, 2021

This “Privacy Policy” explains how the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) collects, uses, discloses and otherwise processes end users’ data in connection with the PathCheck Louisiana mobile application (“COVID Defense App”). The Application Provider for the COVID Defense App is the Government of Louisiana Office of Technology Services (OTS). This Privacy Policy also describes the choices available to individuals with respect to data when using the COVID Defense App.

About LDH and the COVID Defense App

LDH oversees public health efforts throughout Louisiana. The COVID Defense App is intended for use to facilitate contact tracing in response to COVID-19. Contact tracing consists of notifying and monitoring individuals who have been in close contact with someone who is infected with a virus and could potentially infect others. The COVID Defense App allows users to store data collected and processed by the App for the purposes of contact tracing locally on the respective user’s mobile device. The COVID Defense App can notify users if they have been exposed to a COVID-19-infected individual and provide instructions on how and where to get tested.  The COVID Defense App leverages the open source software (OSS) PathCheck project.

Specifically the App:

  • Does not require your name, age, or address
  • Does not require you to create an account or login
  • Does not collect your phone number unless you choose to share it for a callback
  • Does not track your location
  • Cannot be used to check if you should be self-isolating
  • Can only access information on your phone that you decide to enter or allow
  • Cannot be used to identify who are your close contacts
  • Cannot be used to identify people who tested positive for coronavirus
  • Requires a user to enable bluetooth and exposure notifications for the app to function

How it works    

The LDH COVID Defense App does not collect your name, address, location, age, or other demographic details, without your consent or “unless you consent”.  You do not create an account and can use the app anonymously.  Bluetooth random IDs are assigned to each device using the COVID Defense App. Each user’s random code changes frequently to further protect their identity. When a COVID Defense App user comes into close contact with another user, their random codes are exchanged using Bluetooth. Random codes for close contacts are stored in a user’s device for 14 days. No personally identifiable or location information is collected, stored, or exchanged during this process.  When a user tests positive and enters the verification code; all of the time-relevant random keys are submitted to LDH, and are then made available for other users' apps to check if there is a match.  If there is a match an exposure notification is presented on the users phone; along with recommendations on what to do next.  Both users' anonymity are maintained throughout the process.

User tests positive

If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they may choose to notify other COVID Defense App users who have had close contact with them. To trigger such notification, a user who tests positive for COVID-19 must enter a valid, 8-digit verification code provided by a LDH contact tracer.  This verification code is randomly generated by LDH and only used to enter a positive diagnosis in the COVID Defense App.  Users receive the verification code from LDH from contract tracers via a phone call or from an SMS message.

User enters a verification code

Once a valid verification code is entered into the COVID Defense App, a risk calculation is made using the time, duration, and Bluetooth signal attenuation (proximity indicator) collected by the COVID Defense App for each contact event between COVID Defense App users, and other COVID Defense App users who are calculated to have been in close contact with the user who tested positive will be alerted.  Users then receive exposure notifications in the COVID Defense App to let them know they encountered a possible exposure.

Your choices

Using the app

Using the COVID Defense App is completely voluntary, and you may choose to install and uninstall the COVID Defense App at any time. The COVID Defense App will never collect, track or store your location or GPS information.  It also does not require you to create an account or share your personal information; with the exception of if you would like to schedule a phone call with an LDH contact tracer; you can optionally share your phone number.

Enabling exposure notifications

Enabling exposure notification in the COVID Defense App is your choice. You can enable and disable such notification at any time. It must be enabled for the COVID Defense App to exchange the random codes with other COVID Defense App users who you come into close contact with, for you to receive exposure notifications, or for you to notify other COVID Defense App users if you test positive for COVID-19 by sharing your random codes through a positive report.

Notifying other app users if you test positive

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may choose to notify other COVID Defense App users who you have been in close contact with. Providing notification to other COVID Defense App users with whom you have had close contact is completely voluntary. The notification will not disclose your identity or any personally identifying information. To enable such notifications, you will need a valid, 8-digit verification code provided by an LDH contact tracer. This verification code is used to verify your positive diagnosis and prevent false reports. This verification code is not associated with your identity. Once a valid verification code is entered into the COVID Defense App and you confirm that you wish to anonymously notify other users you may have encountered, after you confirm, all COVID Defense App users who have enabled their app configuration to receive notifications will receive your Bluetooth random IDs to determine if there has been any close contact with you. Such notifications will not include your identity or the date, time, or location of the exposure.

The app will also present to a user a multi day time window, about when someone was in close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus. This is so you can discuss with your medical provider or a contact tracer to receive more accurate advice based on how long ago it has been since you were exposed to the virus.

Terminating app participation

Participation in the COVID Defense App may be terminated at any time by deleting or uninstalling the COVID Defense App from your device. After the COVID Defense App is deleted or uninstalled, your device will no longer generate or exchange Bluetooth random IDs with other users. Any Bluetooth random IDs that were previously shared with other COVID Defense App users will be automatically deleted after 14 days from the date the verification code was generated.

Collection and sharing of event data

The following event data may be processed and collected in the COVID Defense App:

  • Installing the COVID Defense App
  • Enabling and disabling Exposure Notifications
  • Receiving an Exposure Notification
  • Submitting a verified verification code
  • Sharing a positive result
  • Downloading anonymous tokens for positive users that have chosen to notify others
  • Deleting the app

We use the above event information to understand how the COVID Defense App is being used. This data may be shared with other entities. It may be used in aggregate and anonymous form for statistical or scientific research purposes. This information will not include any personal or location information nor can it be used to identify any COVID Defense App user.

Collection and sharing of personal data

Personal data used by the app can be provided

  1. by you (if you choose to provide it)  
  2. as well as your phone.

Personal data you can choose to provide in the app

  1. your name, phone number and
  2. symptom onset date and the types of signs and symptoms you experience.

You don't have to provide any of this data if you don't want to. 

Personal data provided automatically by your phone includes your IP address. If you consent to share this data; we only useit for debugging purposes.  

Your phone number

We will not know your phone number unless you choose to share it.  You may decide to share it if you want to receive a follow-up call if you need help or because you are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus.  If you input your phone number; the LDH contact tracing team will call your phone to provide you support and guidance on testing, preventative measures, and resources to support you during this time.

Separately, through other manual contact tracing activities different from the app, LDH contact tracing team may/will interview COVID positive individuals who also share their close contacts' and associated phone numbers. This means that you could get a phone call from them without sending them your number through this app.  All conversations with contact tracers are confidential and optional.

Your health information

If you use the COVID symptom tracker on your phone, the app will ask you to share:

  • your symptoms and when they occurred
  • no other personal or demographic details

If you input this information in the app, it is not sent outside of the app.  This information is to help you determine when others around you may have been exposed and to help you determine if you should seek out and find a laboratory test.

Data about how you use the app

We collect data about how you use the app. This is called 'app metric data'.

We collect it to improve the app and to understand:

  • how the app is being used as well as bugs and errors
  • its impact in helping slow the spread of the virus

This app metric data does not reveal your identity. But it's your choice if you want to share this data or not.

Opting out of push notifications

If you opt-in to receive push notifications within the COVID Defense App, it may send push notifications or alerts to your mobile device from time to time. You can deactivate push notifications and alerts at any time by deleting the COVID Defense App, changing your device settings, or changing the push notification settings within the COVID Defense App.

Age requirements

COVID Defense App is not intended for children under the age of 13, and we do not knowingly allow a child under 13 to use the App. If you are between the ages of 13 and 17, you can only use COVID Defense App if your parent or legal guardian has reviewed and agreed to the Terms of Service on your behalf.

Changes to our privacy policy

We may update this Privacy Policy from time to time. If we make material changes to our Privacy Policy, we will notify you by posting the changes on COVID Defense or by using the contact information you provide to the COVID Defense. The notification will indicate when such changes will become effective.

If you object to a new Privacy Policy, you may terminate participation in the COVID Defense App by deleting or uninstalling the COVID Defense App.

Contacting us

If you have any feedback, or any questions, comments, or concerns relating to this Privacy Policy or our privacy practices, please contact us at our Contact Us page or write to us at the following address:

Division of Administration
Office of Technology Services
1201 N. Third Street, STE. 7-210
Baton Rouge, LA 70802