Governments and IT in the fight against the Corona virus and the problem of privacy

GCI News

Report from 23 April 2020
In the fight against coronavirus, governments around the world have turned to technology companies to develop applications for daily monitoring of human movements or to warn citizens when they come into contact with infected people. However, many fear that the use of these applications would lead to misuse of personal data. 

Smartphones and other technology applications are widely used in Asian countries such as Singapore and South Korea to curb the spread of infections. In Europe, however, there are concerns about possible data misuse and data breaches, according to Reuters. 

According to an analysis by Linklaters law firm published on April 16 in Reuters, 28 countries worldwide have launched contact monitoring applications, including 11 European countries, while 11 countries are developing applications based on GPS or blood data. 

The European Commission notes that mobile phone applications used by EU Member States to curb virus proliferation should comply with the privacy policy of the block and get people's consent to the use of personal data. 

The commission added that the use of mobile phone applications should be approved by health authorities, that they should be voluntarily installed and deleted when they are no longer needed, Reuters reports. 

As the BBC reported two weeks ago, the European Data Protection Supervisor has requested that a unique coronavirus application be used across the EU instead of making each country its own. 

As one of the main drivers of the European smartphone application technology platform (PEPP-PT), which can be used to track people at risk of coronavirus infection, he recently told Reuters that they are receiving government support. 

PEPP-PT has emerged as a leader in the use of short-range blood communication between personal devices and as a proxy to measure the risk that an infected person can transmit the virus. 

More than 200 scientists and technologists work together to develop a PEPP-PT that is designed as the backbone for applications at national level that comply with strict European data protection regulations and on which information can be exchanged across borders. 

Seven countries have either officially approved an initiative called Pan-European Privacy Proximity Monitoring (PEPP-PT) or have commissioned one of their members to develop the application nationally, said German technology entrepreneur Chris Bus. 
"Many large countries have asked their application teams to improve our offering," said Bus, one of the initiators of the PEPP-PT. 

He cited Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Malta, Spain and Switzerland as examples. Another 40 countries have applied and are in the process of joining the initiative. 

As previously reported, a cell phone application to monitor the spread of coronavirus infections is already under development in Germany, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to use the app. 

The application developed by the Frauenhofer Institute is based on Blutut technology and is based on the principle of data exchange between two owners' mobile phones. 

According to Hina, the plan is not to provide personal information about the infected person, only information about the infection. 

France has also launched a project to develop an application that can be used to track the StopCovid virus coroner carriers on mobile phones, and Poland has launched an application to help the police ensure that isolated people from abroad do not violate this Travel ban prohibited from home to prevent the spread of coronaviruses. 

Italy has announced that it will launch a contact monitoring application within a few days, while the Netherlands has recently launched a call for proposals to develop mobile phone applications or software that could be used to combat the coronavirus epidemic. 

Apple and Google have also announced a partnership to develop mobile phone technology that notifies users when they come into contact with people infected with the virus. 

Users have to accept the inclusion of technology in the system, but it has the potential to cover around a third of the world's population. According to the agency, about three billion people use iOS and Android operating systems. 

This technology, known as contact monitoring, is designed to curb the spread of coronaviruses by notifying users to isolate or quarantine after contact with an infected person. 

However, this technology can be controversial, as sensitive information about the health of billions of people has to be exchanged via mobile phones that are constantly transmitting their location. 

Original report from NovaS magazine 

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Your Team of GCI Unit Serbia

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