It is part of a common coordinated approach to support the gradual lifting of exit restrictions, as outlined in a Commission recommendation last week. Together with the tools, guidelines for data protection are also published for such mobile apps today.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Member States, with the support of the Commission, have been evaluating digital solutions to deal with the crisis in terms of effectiveness, security, privacy and data protection. Provided that they fully comply with EU regulations and are well coordinated, contact tracking mobile apps can play a key role in all phases of crisis management, especially when the time is ripe to gradually remove social distancing measures. They can complement existing analog contact tracking and help break the virus transmission chain. Together with the tools, guidelines for data protection are also published for such mobile apps today.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton welcomed the toolbox and said: “To limit the spread of the Corona virus, contact tracking apps can be useful, especially as part of Member States’ exit strategies. Strict data protection requirements are a prerequisite for the introduction of these apps and therefore for We should be innovative and make the best use of technology to fight the pandemic, but we will not jeopardize our privacy values and requirements. “
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, added: “Digital tools will be crucial for protecting our citizens as we gradually lift the exit restrictions. Mobile apps can warn us of infection risks and health authorities can track them Support contacts. This is essential to break the chain of transmission. We have to be careful, creative and flexible when we reopen our societies. We have to flatten the curve – and keep it down. Without secure digital technology that complies with the law our concept will not work. “
A common concept for the use of data protection-compatible apps for the voluntary tracking of contacts
Today’s announcement is the first edition of a common EU toolkit developed by the eHealth Network in collaboration with the European Commission in a hurry. It provides Member States with practical guidance on the introduction of mobile apps for contact tracking and warning. The set of tools contains the basic requirements for these apps:
– They should be fully in line with EU data protection and privacy rules as outlined in the guidelines presented today after consultation with the European Data Protection Board.
– They should be introduced and approved in close consultation with the health authorities.
– They should be installed and deactivated voluntarily as soon as they are no longer necessary.
– You should aim to use the latest technological solutions to protect privacy. Since they are likely to be based on Bluetooth-based approximation technology, they do not allow the location of the users to be determined.
– They should be based on anonymized data: You can warn people who have been close to an infected person for a certain period of time, so that they can be tested or isolated themselves without revealing the identity of the infected person.
– They should be interoperable across Europe so that citizens are protected even when they cross borders.
– They should be anchored in recognized epidemiological guidelines and reflect best practices in cybersecurity and accessibility.
– You should be safe and effective.
This will make tracking easier, faster, and more effective than traditional systems based on interviewing infected patients. However, this form of contact tracking will also continue to include citizens who may be more susceptible to infection but who are less likely to have a smartphone, e.g. B. elderly or disabled people.
A common concept for other functions, particularly with regard to information and the continuous control of symptoms, could be developed for future versions of the toolkit.
The toolkit reflects the latest best practices for using mobile apps to track contacts and warn you when coping with the crisis. It is part of an ongoing process in which Member States are working together to design and refine the use of these and other practical tools in the coming weeks and months. This first version will be supplemented in the light of Member States’ experience.
By April 30, 2020, health authorities will assess the effectiveness of the apps at national and cross-border levels. Member States should report on their measures by 31 May 2020 and make their reports available to other Member States and the Commission for peer review. The Commission will assess progress and will publish regular reports throughout the crisis starting in June 2020 recommending new measures or the gradual withdrawal of measures that no longer seem to be necessary. (04/16/2020 / ac / a / m)