Science & Technology

Germany launches Covid-19 app

Berlin, June 16 (efe-epa).- German authorities launched a contact-tracing app on Tuesday as part of measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

The voluntary app allows users to anonymously track contact with confirmed coronavirus cases and get advice based on risk.

The smartphone app notifies users when they have been within three meters of someone for 15 minutes or more who, within 14 days after the encounter, test positive for Covid-19.

The Corona-Warn app uses Bluetooth short-range radio instead of geolocation technologies which have come under fire from rights groups for breaching privacy laws.

Amnesty International praised the German system on Tuesday for its decentralized approach after it identified a range of apps that were putting users’ privacy and security at risk.

According to German authorities, the identity of users remains undisclosed at all times because Corona-Warn does not save any locations or personal data of any kind and all the information is stored on the mobile.

A user’s risk of infection is calculated through an algorithm and advises what safety measures to take, including self-isolating at home and requesting a coronavirus test.

The risk score of each user remains private and is not made available to other users and data isn’t stored for later use.

The app is entirely voluntary and for a user to register as testing positive for Covid-19 the QR code on the testing device needs to be scanned into the app.

“It is not a panacea, it is not a carte blanche, but it is an important instrument for controlling the pandemic,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

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