The Dutch coronavirus app, CoronaMelder, will be available to download for everyone from September 1.
The app alerts users if they have been in contact with someone who had the virus, reports RTL Nieuws.
The app will be available for both Android and iOS and is voluntary. The way it works is that if you’ve been in close contact for more than 10 minutes with someone who had coronavirus, you will get a notification on your phone.
The app uses Bluetooth to detect other users and works only if both people have the app installed. Using Bluetooth, the app calculates your proximity to other people and how much time you stayed in their presence. According to the Ministry of Health, the app is anonymous and no private data is collected.
The app is supposed to help GGD to keep track of coronavirus patients and with whom do they keep contact with. People who are at risk of infection can then be notified so they can take measures to isolate themselves to prevent spreading the virus further.
Criticism about the app
The app has attracted criticism in the past months. For example, a data breach was detected by RTL Nieuws. Experts are also sceptical about how efficient the app is in tackling the current coronavirus crisis.
Evelyn Austin, from the civil rights organization Bits of Freedom, expressed that there needs to be a “clear endpoint” for the app, so that users know when it can be deleted. She further expanded that “At its core, the app remains a means of surveillance. People have little confidence in the government and have doubts about the effectiveness of the app. They then ask themselves the question: am I willing to give up part of my freedom for that?”
The Ministry is also looking to make a controversial collaboration with the tax authorities for the roll-out of the app.
Privacy watchdog Dutch Data Protection Authority is currently looking into the app and will release a statement in the coming weeks about the privacy of the app.
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Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva