French government approves contact tracing app
In France, the coronavirus death toll has increased by less than 100 for the last seven days. This indicates that the worst of the pandemic could be over.
However, to stop a second spike in cases, the government has announced plans for a contact- tracing app. This has been approved by parliament and could be rolled out this weekend.
As restrictions are lifted in Europe, countries are looking for ways to reopen economies while keeping new cases to a limit.
Various strategies have been created to avoid a second wave of cases, including phased opening of shops, schools, and public places, as well as limiting large gatherings and social contact.
Contact tracing is believed to be a safe and effective way to reduce cases alongside other measures. Because of this, countries around the world are now developing their own apps.
The “StopCovid” app in France has been developed by Orange and Dassault Systemes, and, according to tech minister Cedric O, “This is a French project, with the excellence but also the panache and some would say the stubbornness which characterises our country.”
The French government has decided to avoid Apple and Google platforms and to keep the data in a central database, which it argues would make it easier to monitor and track cases.
However, Google and Apple argue this is bad for the privacy of users, and the data should be stored on the phone and not be accessible to the government.
In response to this, Cedric O says “Is it really a coincidence that 22 countries have used the Apple and Google interface, but not France or Britain, which are the only two countries in Europe with their own nuclear deterrent?”
“A big company, as efficient as it is, should not dictate the public health choices of a sovereign state,” he added.