Launching of COVID-19 Contact Tracing App to Share Venue Check-Ins Through QR Code
Recently Developed Application Would Be Secure and Would Only Advise Users Regarding Possible Risk of Exposure from Positive COVID-19 Patients
Wales and England’s contact tracing apps would be asking their users to share some of their details regarding visiting venues they have recently checked into if they are diagnosed with the coronavirus infection. This recent update for the COVID-19 contact tracing app by the National Health Service will be deployed for the general public before the reopening of businesses and shops across both countries, which is scheduled to be done on April 12, along with outdoor hospitality in England.
The regulating authorities would make use of this information collected through the contact tracing app to advise other incoming visitors if they require to get tested for the COVID-19 infection. However, the system algorithm for the contact tracing app has been designed to protect the anonymity of the user.
This contact tracing app has been specifically designed keeping in mind the privacy of the user, so it is able to easily track the virus movements while using the latest technology available in data security to protect the privacy of the user, according to the spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care.
Until now, the facility of QR barcode scanning was only being used if the local authorities of the country were able to flag a location for being a hotspot for the COVID-19 virus by other available means. This, in turn, would trigger a process inside the application by which each smartphone, which has been checked at the affected location site on the concerned dates, would be checked, and the user would receive an alert from the government.
By the facility for QR codes was being used rarely on occasion, despite logging more than 106 million check-ins by residents of the country.
In the month of March this year, it has been reported that the blame on the contact tracing app was that it suffered from capacity issues at a localized level, as the health preventive teams became overburdened and were not properly brief due to which they were very unclear on the tasks they were supposed to perform.
The decision for an automated response by the system via the consumer’s personal action would be helpful in addressing the issue and can easily be resolved by using a contact tracing app.
There are bound to be some difficulties, as there are certain types of individuals who are reserved regarding disclosure of their recent past location and time duration. To address this issue in the contact tracing app, the Department of Health has utilized a privacy-protecting measure within the contact tracing app, specifically incorporated in the algorithm for people with security issues.
Rather than providing names or any other personal data regarding the users, the working software of the contact tracing app would inform the system when an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 visits any location across the country and scan the QR code.
Depending on the preset threshold, which includes the number of infected individuals visiting the same location in a single day, other health monitoring applications installed on the smartphone would also be able to monitor the symptoms of the individuals and would advise the individual to get tested for COVID-19 infection, whether they are feeling ill or not.
This contact tracing app is not intended to be used as a tool for check-in alone and to force others into self-isolation.
Individuals should not worry regarding this effectivity of contact tracing app, as they are not being asked where they had been in the past few days, but are rather being advised regarding the past location history of an individual diagnosed with COVID019 infection, that could lead to the increased rate of local transmission of infection.
Concerns in Scotland
Several concerns have been raised by privacy advocates regarding a similar contact tracing app that is being used across Scotland. The users in the country are currently being asked to shift to another new application for registering at venues.
This application named Protect Scotland, a contact tracing app previously used across the country, and is not bound with the same privacy measures generally demanded by Apple and Google, as they provide some of the technology used in the creation of the application.
The recently launched Check-In Scotland uploads the name of the person, along with the email address and their phone number of each using individual, and stores it into a secure, centralized set of databases alongside time and venue visit.