In the middle of last August, the Spanish government announced the official activation of the COVID Radar, an official application for mobile devices to alert of contagion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which after a test phase in La Gomera that ended on 31 December July, it has been officially activated so that any user with an Android or iOS mobile can download and use it.
In fact, “the app is ready so that the health authorities can allow its adoption by the Autonomous Communities in order to begin connection work with their systems.” And that’s what happened.
What is COVID Radar, how does it work
The RadarCOVID app has been developed following “the most guaranteed technical standards with user privacy in compliance with all the recommendations made by the European Commission.” Therefore, no user can be identified or located because there is no data registered and because the entire process takes place on their phone without going to any server. Furthermore, both the use of the app and the communication of a possible contagion will always be voluntary.
The application uses the terminal’s Bluetooth connection, through which mobile phones emit and observe anonymous identifiers of other phones that change periodically. When two terminals have been close for 15 minutes or more, two meters or less apart, both keep the anonymous identifier issued by the other.
If any user were diagnosed positive for COVID-19 after undergoing a PCR test, they would decide whether to give their consent so that, through the health system, an anonymous notification can be sent. In this way, the mobiles that had been in contact with the patient would receive a warning about the risk of possible contagion and instructions would be provided on how to proceed. By not requesting data of any kind, it is impossible to identify or locate any user in any way.
Currently, the European Commission is developing the legal and technical framework that enables interoperability between applications based on the decentralized model, such as RadarCOVID, so that they can continue to function beyond the borders of each State.