DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for COVID-19, mobile apps that preserve privacy. And the winner is ….

COVID-19, mobile apps that preserve privacy. And the winner is ….

abdelkrim profile image Abdelkrim Originally published at altf1be.wordpress.com ・2 min read

The World struggles and needs to choose between data privacy and the interruption of new chains of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19, Coronavirus) transmission.

Here is a summary of the best mobile apps preserving the data privacy built by Governments (https://github.com/fs0c131y/covid19-tracker-apps)

We count 34 mobile apps from countries all over the World, from Argentina to Vietnam.

  • Some apps focus on cities or provinces (e.g., Madrid – Spain, Lombardia – Italy)
  • Google Play (store) (it is a guess) accepts to name an app “COVID” only if a public administration publishes it (try it from your location: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=covid)
  • The mobile app written by Iran is not available on the store and needs to be installed outside the app store
  • Apple Store (it is not a guess) accepts to name any app with “COVID” (try it from your location on the https://apps.apple.com)

Most mobile apps indicate that their authors pay strict attention to the data privacy of the users or that the mobile app is not mandatory to use.

  • Some mobile apps require the mobile phone number of their smartphone’ owner to enable the Ministry of Health to contact them
  • Geolocations are kept in the mobile phone
    • Geolocations are shared only if the user accepts it
  • The authors (Ministry of Health) may ask the geolocation of the user if he/she is infected
  • The user is aware of its possible infection by another person if he/she has walked near an infected person in the last 14 days
  • Data about phones near the user does not reveal personal identities
  • Data about phones near the user are stored on user’ phone [and not centrally]
  • Other third-party services will not be able to track the user’ identity
  • Users are in control of their data and can revoke consent any time
  • User’ data will only be used for COVID-19 contact tracing
  • The author of the app collects anonymized data to improve the software

By far, the availability of the source code facilitates the work of software engineers and fasten the deployment of applications taking good care of the data privacy of individuals, Israël, Iceland and Pasteur Institute and Greater Paris University Hospitals paved the way to other public administrations.

A mobile app will never save the World from the virus, but it may reduce its spread in the long run (remember that we need to flatten the curve).


Full details are available here: https://altf1be.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/covid-19-mobile-apps-that-preserve-privacy-and-the-winner-is

Discussion (0)

pic
Editor guide