German EPP delegation want special treatment for app users

A smart phone app using Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP-3T) is pictured before a test with Swiss soldiers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) during the state of emergency of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Lausanne, Switzerland, 24 April 2020. [EPA-EFE/LAURENT GILLIERON]

MEPs belonging to Germany’s CDU/CSU outfit have published a wish list for a European digital response to the corona pandemic, featuring recommendations for the lifting of quarantine restrictions for people who install contact tracing apps.   

Dedicating the first chapter to tracing apps, MEPs call for a “common architecture for tracing app” instead of 27 different systems. National solutions built upon it should be compatible and interoperable across EU borders.

“Although we support the principle of voluntary use, at least 60 percent of European citizens will have to download a tracing app so that contact chains can effectively be interrupted,” MEPs wrote in the paper.

To reach that threshold, MEPs propose to create “incentives to use the app”, such as “the loosening of restrictive measures for app users when travelling abroad or going to a restaurant.” The paper is backed by Katja Leikert, deputy chair of the CDU/CSU group in the German parliament.

German app still in development

Earlier this week, Angela Merkel had presented an agreement with her state heads on the easing of restrictive anti-Corona measures.

On tracing apps, the resolution seen by EURACTIV states that the app will be based on “double voluntariness”, meaning that even after installing it, users will decide whether to share any data.

It will also be open source, decentralised in its storing and sharing of data and will not capture movement profiles. Companies SAP and Deutsche Telekom were tasked with developing it, supported by the startup “Gesundzusammen”.

Germany recently backtracked on its homegrown solution to build a centralised architecture for data processing as part of coronavirus contact tracing applications, instead opting for a decentralised approach after a series of privacy concerns were raised.

Edited by Samuel Stolton

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