COVID-19 Cases

EU urges voluntary use of virus tracking apps to boost pandemic recovery

Image:-Tracing app

On Wednesday, the European Commission urged EU governments to make use of COVID-19 contact tracking applications as part of efforts to lift borders and to revive the tourism and travel industry of the European Union.

Countries are eager to develop mobile tracing applications in the hope that smartphone technology can help re-open borders, which are crucial for trade, without unleashing a second wave of the pandemic.

In turn, concern about privacy violations and government surveillance has been raised long since the virus crisis has eased. The applications use Bluetooth short range wireless to identify people who come into contact with the virus.

The Commission, the EU's 27-nation executive, sought to alleviate such fears.

"Tracing apps should use Bluetooth technology and be interoperable across borders and across operating systems, using pseudonymized data," he said in a statement.

The Commission has also established guidelines to help developers to develop applications that can work together and across the EU.

This includes minimum requirements for applications to communicate with each other to allow users to receive an alert wherever they are in the EU and if they contact people with the virus.

The applications should enable health authorities to inform people about their positive results, calculate the risk of exposure for users and send alerts to potential follow-ups.

Apps that could not work across EU borders arose following a spat between France and Apple. France accused the company of undermining the fight against viruses by refusing to make its iPhones more compatible with a "StopCovid" planned contact tracking application.

Apple and Alphabet Inc's Google, which has 99% of smartphones on its operating systems worldwide, collaborate to build an app to slow the virus spread by allowing users to log other phones nearby.

Article Edited by | John Heine |

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