Application to fight the coronavirus finds many difficulties of implementation in France.
French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, and Minister of Digital Economy, Cédric. They have officially announced that the French government is working on a smartphone app to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The government is putting a seal of approval on the “European proximity and privacy preservation tracking system” (PEPP-PT), which is now in the approval phase.
Using apps to track coronavirus is a delicate problem in Europe. Dozens of nonprofit organizations have written a joint statement calling on governments to respect citizens’ rights.
They fear that governments may use this opportunity to impose long-range surveillance measures that do not comply with the regulatory framework and that will remain in effect after the coronavirus crisis. The European Commission has reminded governments that they must implement “appropriate safeguards” as citizens of the European Union will not rely on contact tracking applications if they do not handle personal information properly.
Without giving much detail about the app and its idealization, the app would be based on the open standard for developing tracking apps. In this case, the application would use Bluetooth with low energy consumption to identify other smartphones with the same application and notify their carriers of the presence of someone officially diagnosed with covid-19.
In interview with Le Monde, Cédric said the application has not yet proven its efficiency and French citizens will not be forced to download and register in the system.
“We are not sure if we can overcome all technical difficulties, as Bluetooth is not able to determine the distance between individuals. We will decide later whether it will be useful to launch it or not. ”, Stressed the minister of digital economy.
The French privacy control body, CNIL, says it is too early to comment on the application, but the French government guarantees that the entity will have a say in the project.
Privacy experts are debating how the app works. Some argue that it should be as decentralized as possible. Smartphones must keep a record of their social interactions. This means that the data must be stored in local files, that is, only in the cell phone storage.
Do you think that the French government can go beyond its limits by creating this type of application? Is it really necessary and important to track and monitor people in this way? Leave your opinion in the comments.