Mobile apps for contact tracing apps used on a voluntary basis are being rolled out or developed by most of the 14 EU countries in our latest research as part of their strategies to ease the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Such apps would complement the overall measures adopted by governments in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
Some of the contact tracing apps are coupled with features or launched alongside standalone apps for symptom checking and/or quarantine enforcement.
A contact tracing app should warn people when they have been in a close recent contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 and inform them on the appropriate next steps (e.g. advice to get tested or to self-isolate, and whom to contact).
Almost all countries developing contact tracing apps have indicated that the apps will be Bluetooth-based. This is in line with the European Commission data protection guidance on the development of apps, which recommends the use of Bluetooth communications between devices over the use of geolocation data (e.g. GPS or cellular location data). According to the Commission, contrary to geolocation data, Bluetooth-based apps would avoid tracking the location of users and are less intrusive.
Our latest “Cullen cheat sheet” shows how a Bluetooth-based contact tracing app could work in practice.
To access the full report on “Covid-19 update: mobile apps by public authorities and data sharing by providers of electronic communication services in Europe”, please click on “Access the full content” - or on “Request Access”, in case you are not subscribed to our European Digital Economy service.
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