After a long debate, France’s contract tracing app StopCovid is now available on both Android and iOS platforms. Notably, this app launch coincides with the third phase of the government’s reopening plan, where restaurants, high schools, and universities will be opened gradually.
Just like France, many countries across the world are relying on the apps to help alert people quickly when they’ve been exposed to the virus and help prevent the spread.
Digital Minister Cedric O said in an interview on France Inter radio on Monday, “From the first downloads, the app helps avoid contamination, illness and thus deaths. So there is no minimum threshold for the app’s efficiency. Of course, the more people have the app, the better, but there is no threshold to make it efficient. It speeds the tracing process.”
Use Bluetooth signal!
Similar to other contact tracing apps, this one also uses Bluetooth signal from smartphones to develop a list of other users you’ve interacted with for around 15 minutes. Also, you will be alerted when you have been close to a user who tests positive for COVID-19.
In case, if you take a test for COVID-19 that turns out to be positive, the laboratory will give you a code to scan or enter manually to send an anonymous alert to users who have been close to you.
Rejected external backing from Google and Apple!
It’s worth mentioning that Britain and France rejected the external help from tech giants like Google and Apple, unlike Germany’s which are based on the platform jointly developed by Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.
While many criticised the app citing privacy issues, the French government said that it does not utilise location tracking and deletes user data after 14 days. After a long intense debate about how user data will be used and protected, the app was approved by lawmakers and the privacy watchdog. The application has been developed by the StopCovid team under the supervision of the Ministry for Solidarity and Health and the Ministry of State for Digital Affairs.
At the time of writing this article, around 151,000 cases were confirmed with 28,940 deaths and 68,812 recoveries.
Main image credits: Zigres/Shutterstock
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