StopCovid: Track and Trace in France
Wednesday 03 June 2020
The ‘StopCovid’ track and trace app has been introduced in France.
With lockdown measures in France now having been eased, the government have introduced their 'StopCovid' track and trace mobile phone application.
Downloading and use of the app is entirely voluntary, but the government have urged the population to adopt it.
The app will be used to try and reduce the risk of a second wave of the pandemic.
The app, once installed on the smartphone, warns people who have been in contact with a person tested positive for coronavirus.
The person alerted by a notification can then be screened: they will be asked to isolate themselves, limit their travel, wear a mask and consult a doctor or call 0800 130 000 in order to break the chain of transmission of the virus, even if they do not develop any symptoms.
The alert assumes that the person tested positive for Covid-19 declares themself via a single-use code which will be given to them with the result of his test, to inform the users of the application with which they come into contact in the street, shops, transport etc.
How does it work?
When the phones of two people who have installed the application cross at a distance of less than a meter and for fifteen minutes, the mobile of one records the references of the other in its history via the Bluetooth connection.
If a person has declared positive for Covid-19 on the StopCovid application, those who have been in contact with them will be notified automatically on their smartphone, via the application.
The application must be installed voluntarily, either from Google Play Store or App Store.
According to the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) the application deals well with personal and health data and "respects the concept of data protection."
The application therefore requires no personal data: no marital status, or even a telephone number. The person tested positive receives a code (encrypted and a QR Code) with the result of its positive Covid-19 test, to be entered or scanned in the application.
The data stored on the phone and on the server are kept 14 days before being automatically erased.
And in accordance with the general data protection regulations, it is possible to delete data stored on your phone, data stored on the server and data related to the activation of Stopcovid.
Nevertheless, the technology developed for the application assumes that people individually have a mobile phone, keep it with them throughout the day, activate the Bluetooth function, agree to download this type of application and enter the code provided in the event of a positive Covid-19 test.
Around 25% of French people do not have a smartphone and this rate is higher among those over 70 (44%).
There is also concern how it will work in those areas of France with poor mobile phone signal strength.
The government have emphasised the continued importance of physical distancing and other measures of protection.