Coronavirus: EU countries want to make their tracking applications compatible

by bold-lichterman

The countries of the European Union have agreed on recommendations intended to make their contact tracing applications developed in the fight against the coronavirus compatible, so that they can be used throughout the EU. These principles, published Wednesday on the occasion of the presentation of the European Commission’s proposals for a resumption of tourism this summer and a reopening of internal borders, are intended to guide developers working with health authorities on these applications. ” Interoperability is crucial: European citizens must be able to be alerted to a possible infection in a secure and protected way, wherever they are in the EU, and whatever application they use ”, the Commission said in a statement.

The European executive recommends that these applications be installed on a “voluntary” basis, whether they are “Transparent, temporary, secure”, that they ” use anonymized data and Bluetooth technology ». As part of their deconfinement strategy, most Member States have launched or plan to set up tracking applications intended to alert a user if he has been in contact with a person infected with Covid-19.

Centralized or decentralized architecture?

But European countries have not all opted for the same approach: most favor a “decentralized” architecture in which the processing and storage of almost all data is done at the level of the smartphone while others like France prefer a “centralized” approach involving more storage on a central server. ” Whatever approach is adopted, all the Member States and the Commission consider that interoperability between these apps and their systems is essential for these tools to allow the monitoring of cross-border chains of infection ”, indicates the document. A particularly useful condition for cross-border workers, tourists, business trips and for neighboring countries.

This is to ensure that applications can communicate with each other when necessary, so that users can report if they have tested positive or receive an alert if they have been in contact with an infected person. wherever they are in the EU. Applications must, for example, have the same criteria concerning the proximity between two devices, and must allow users traveling in a Member State to receive information in a language they understand. These recommendations should soon be supplemented by a series of precise technical parameters to allow developers to implement them quickly.