The French government has announced that it is working on an application for monitoring those infected with Coronavirus. According to the minister of health and the minister of digital economy – Olivier Véran and Cédric O, respectively – the state is discussing applications for a “European proximity and privacy preservation tracking system” (PEPP-PT), which is now in phase approval.
Without detailing the operation of the application and what information led to its creation, the application would be based on the open standard for developing tracking apps. In this case, the application would use Bluetooth with low energy consumption to identify other smartphones with the same application and notify their carriers of the presence of someone officially diagnosed with covid-19.
In an interview with the newspaper Le Monde, both ministers said they would not force French citizens to download the application and register in the system. They also added that the application may not even pass the internal testing phase if it does not prove its effectiveness.
“We are not sure if we can overcome all technical difficulties, as Bluetooth is not able to determine the distance between individuals. We will decide later whether it will be useful to launch it or not. ”, Stressed the minister of digital economy.
Bill in progress
The current French proximity tracking project already allows the use of centralized and decentralized systems. Basically, a system is defined centralized when a server collects individual information from those registered and records all social interactions of this individual with other users of the app.
In this case, even if the registrations are masked by anonymous identifiers, decryption of the protection system becomes a risk for the population – who may have their real names and sensitive data discovered. For this reason, experts in digital security advocate a system to be decentralized: where contact information is saved in local files, only on cell phone storage.