The process of developing different solutions for monitoring the coronavirus and its possible infections through mobile applications continues. In Spain, Asistencia-Covid-19 is already available as a means of downloading from healthcare contact centres, but we are working on the definition and creation of a more advanced appThe first is a coronavirus monitoring system coordinated by the State Secretariat for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence.
The Government is already working at national and European level through a series of meetings that should lead to the creation of various working groups. These groups should guarantee the interoperability of these prevention apps and the aim is to reach create a unified application that works the same way across EuropeThis will enable all the countries of the Union to be connected, thus facilitating the monitoring and prevention of coronavirus infections.
Private and voluntary Bluetooth tracking
The model that we like the most and the one that is taking steps, closer and closer to being translated into a fully operational application, is the one that started in Singapore several weeks ago. An application model that use the Bluetooth connection of mobile phones to detect nearby devices of other users that would be marked as “contacts”. If any member of this chain of contacts were to become infected, other people at risk of the same condition could easily be located.
This application would have a similar to that proposed, for example, by Apple and Google in their common effort to create native APIs for their respective mobile operating systems, or to the OpenCoronavirus app detailed here. This model, in fact, has been questioned for security reasons, even though Google has already reported that it will prevent the use of GPS to geolocate contacts and, therefore, track the location of users while using the app.
The Government wants the app to guarantee the privacy of users and to be of voluntary use
To avoid this type of suspicion, Spain wants this app to be unified for all of Europe so that it can guarantee the privacy and security of those who decide to use it. An important aspect of this application is that users’ privacy has been set as one of the key points during its creation, and will be the central axis of one of the working groups derived from the meetings now being held with the Secretariat of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence or SEDIA.
In addition, Spain wants this application, or applications in the case that different solutions are developed at a European or internal level, to be voluntary use by citizens. In any case, the resulting application must comply with the current General Data Protection Regulations, which also guarantee users’ privacy at cross-border level.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, in turn, transmits that it will be the health authorities who give the green light for the adoption of this and other mobile apps resulting from the current meetings based on the results obtained from “the pilot projects that may be launched in the coming weeks”. We look forward to hearing more first-hand information about these pilots.