The Use of Digital Tracking in the Fight Against the Spread of Coronavirus

The European Parliament and EU last week issued a framework aimed at restarting the tourism industry during the critical summer period, but at the same time protecting populations in its member countries by using the digital tracking of potential Coronavirus carriers (Covid-19) (Source: European Parliament, https://europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2020/649384/ERPS_BRI%282020% 29649384_EN.pdf).

The purpose of this reference framework is to use digital technology to provide the most effective protection for citizens against Coronavirus.

By T.C.

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Digital tracking for Coronavirus
Photo by the website www.europarl.europa.eu

The framework for the use of digital tracking in the EU

More specifically, it is stipulated that digital technologies and the data produced by them can and should be used to properly face the Covid-19 pandemic.

Portable devices that incorporate specific applications could enhance contact tracking and support public health authorities to reduce the spread of this Coronavirus.

The EU continues and always within this framework stipulates that applications to be used should ensure interoperability in areas with external service in both canteens and marinas.

This action is not unprecedented, as in Asia these applications are already being used and in fact the use is mandatory. It is already applicable to people who are in compulsory self-restraint and are monitored if they observe this self-limitation through the location of their portable device that has integrated this application.

In South Korea, no traveler can board an airplane with destination South Korea unless they have incorporated the digital signaling app into their portable communications device.

The people of South Korea have unequivocally accepted this system, when a riot broke out in Liberal France against the government when it was announced that all data from such applications would be collected in a central server.

The Digital tracking applications for use

The application DP-3T (Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing). The system that supports this application is decentralized and relies on the transfer of data via Bluetooth from the virus carrier mobile device to other users’ mobile devices with whom he came in contact. The system is almost anonymous.

In Switzerland, where the above application is used, the system can be modified at any time and become fully identifiable in terms of user data and if the Social Security Number of the holder of the mobile device (mobile phone) is used as an identification element.

Last Wednesday, Germany presented the technical specifications for its own digital tracking system based on decentralized information dissemination from the virus carrier’s mobile phone to those citizens who have had and still have contact with him.

Under this system the mobile phone user will send “codes” to those around him and in contact with him and will also receive codes from their mobile devices. These codes will be withheld from users’ mobile phones for fourteen (14) days.

There will be no state authority to collect this information (as it was supposed to be in France).

Criticisms

This system, described above by Germany and the UK, is supported by both Google and Apple.

But it is not possible to give less data than those collected by the state for digital tracking. Yes, there are others who need to be checked to see if they have the virus, but if they do, it is clearly their business. The system does not expose that carrier of the virus that sends the code with the application of his mobile phone.

For such a digital tracking system to be successful and acceptable, most of the population will have to accept it. This has not been done so far in any EU member state. This is mainly since there is not much transparency to be accepted. In addition, there are reports that GPS-based digital tracking methods have serious technical problems.

For these types of systems to work properly, mobile phones must always have Bluetooth on. But if Bluetooth is still in operation, then it can very easily become a hacking object and then political problems will arise due to the embezzlement of sensitive personal data. Every government will then find itself in an exceedingly difficult position.

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