The German authorities switched to supporting a COVID-19 tracing app which utilizes technology supported by Google and Apple, discarding a German-led choice that had come under fire over privacy matters.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun and German Health Minister Jens Spahn told that the country was now in support of a “decentralised software architecture” that would observe user data stored on people’s own mobile phones rather than a central database.
German Government Supports Gooogle and Apple on Virus App
Spahn and Braun told in a joint statement, “Our goal is for the tracing app to be ready for use very soon and with strong acceptance from the public and civil society,”
The designing of an app that would utilize Bluetooth feature to alert mobile phone users when they came in contact with someone diagnosed with the virus is regarded crucial in the struggle against the coronavirus pandemic as countries like Germany ease their lockdowns.
Germany has until now supported a pan-European application called PEPP-PT being designed by some 130 European scientists, which include specialists from Germany’s Fraunhofer research institute and Robert Koch Institute public health body.
But the suggested app had faced mounting criticism due to its plan of storing data on a central server. The critics told that it would enable governments to store personal information and could result in mass state surveillance. In an open letter, around 300 leading academics asked governments to reject the centralised approach, saying it risked ruining public trust.
They told that an approach being promoted by Apple and Google, whose operating systems command most of the globe’s smartphones, was more privacy-friendly.