A German research institute engaged in designing a COVID-19 touch tracing software with the help of the national government has provided some new information on the development, indicating that the software is intended to be something of a “one-stop-shop” to handle coronavirus impacts at an individual level, rather than using a specific feature to alert users to possible infection risk.
Work on the German device started at the beginning of March, with initial funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Development and the Federal Ministry of Health financing a feasibility report through the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institute.
The testing agency reports in a PDF released today that the government-backed software would provide features for health officials to immediately alert consumers of a COVID-19 check result whether they have opted in to get feedback this way.
It means the program has to ensure that only those who test positive for the virus make their measurement data accessible to prevent inputting inaccurate data. For “this procedure,” it envisages “an isolated link to the present diagnostic laboratories that would be introduced in the technical functioning.”
“Device consumers will now trigger this update feature freely and thereby be notified quicker and more specifically of their test results,” it writes in the press release (which we have translated from German via Google Translate) claiming that such immediate automated monitoring of test results would ensure that no “valuable time” is wasted to curb the spread of the virus.
Governments across Europe are working to get Bluetooth-powered contacts to monitor devices off the ground, with applications from a range of other nations, including the UK, already in works. And France, amid continuing concerns about the feasibility of tracing digital communications against the infectious virus.
The great hope is that modern devices can provide a way out of economically debilitating population lockdowns by providing a means to simplify tracking of at least certain communications — based on pervasive mobile adoption and the use of Bluetooth-powered proximity as a proxy for coronavirus detection.
Preventing a novel gesture of infections as lockdown limitations are lifted is the near-term goal. Although — in queue with Europe’s rights frameworks — utilization of contacts tracing apps looks ready to be controlled across most of the region, with governments worry about being seen to enforce “health surveillance” on citizens, as has effectively carried in China.
However, if contacts monitoring apps end up loaded with features that are profound linking into national health systems that raises questions about how optional their use will be.
An earlier proposal by a German group of producers of medical equipment, hospitals, pharmacies, clinical data management systems, and blockchain technology providers — proposing a blockchain-based Digital Corona Safety Credential, believed to be capable of producing “verifiable, validated check results that can be loaded through any tracing software” to minimize false positives.