Coronavirus: French Privacy Watchdog Okays Contact Tracing App

Use of the app called StopCovid will be voluntary, and will keep track of users who had been in close proximity of one another over a two-week period.

Share on Facebook Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment
 
Highlights
  • Privacy defenders have expressed fears over state surveillance
  • Use of the app called StopCovid will be voluntary
  • The app will not rely on geolocation, but instead use Bluetooth

France's privacy watchdog gave the green light Tuesday to a government-backed cellphone app that will alert users if they have been in contact with an infected person.

Use of the app called StopCovid will be voluntary, and will keep track of users who had been in close proximity of one another over a two-week period. If any become infected, they inform the platform, which alerts the others.

Privacy defenders have expressed fears that the app marks the first step towards a society under constant online surveillance.

But the CNIL watchdog, which gave provisional approval for StopCovid in April, said Tuesday that the app met the legal requirements for privacy protection, with ample safeguards to prevent abuse.

It nevertheless made a number of recommendations to make it even safer, including improving the quality of information provided to users, allowing users to object to information shared, and providing an option for erasing stored data.

The app will not rely on geolocation, but instead use Bluetooth technology which allows mobile phones to communicate with each other over short distances.

The French parliament, which must vote on the rolling out of the app, will debate the matter on Wednesday.

If it says yes, StopCovid could be available in app stores from this weekend.

France started re-emerging on May 11 from a two-month lockdown to curb coronavirus spread. Public transport has resumed, though many people are still working from home and most schools have yet to reopen.

Bars, restaurants, and public parks remain shuttered.

The issue of how to track coronavirus spread with mobile technology has sparked privacy concerns in several countries now lifting strict home confinement measures as they hope to kickstart their economies.

As a result of the lockdowns, few people in most countries have been exposed to the virus, and thus do not have immunity and remain at risk of infection, raising fears of a second wave once people start mixing again.

The European Commission has recommended that data harvested through contact-tracing apps be stored only on users' own phones and that it be encrypted.


Is Redmi Note 9 Pro Max the best affordable camera phone in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

Comments

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

BSNL Implements AnyCast DNS 61.1.1.1 Allowing Faster Internet Browsing for Its Customers
Redmi Smart TV X50, Redmi Smart TV X55, Redmi Smart TV X65 With 4K Screen and Dolby Audio Launched

Related Stories

 
 

Advertisement

Advertisement

© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2020. All rights reserved.
Listen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com