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Using Bluetooth technology for COVID-19 contact tracing

April, 2020, New study about using modern applications in tracing the pandemia

The full study in PDF format can be downloaded here.

The coronavirus is transmitted indiscriminately through proximity, which makes tracing infections difficult.

Bluetooth tracing apps can reliably record transmission possibilities even when the participants do not know each other and do not remember the interaction.

This can be done with a high degree of privacy. A well-designed app provides a similar level of privacy to not using an app at all.

Decentralized data storage means that the privacy and security of the system is highly resilient against exploitation by any powerful actor (such as a government).

A disadvantage of protecting privacy through decentralization is that tracing apps need to be taken up by the population one person at a time. Their use cannot be checked remotely and hence cannot be effectively mandated by governments or health authorities. A very high degree of take-up is necessary to make them an effective weapon against the virus.

The eRouška app by COVID19cz follows these principles and offers a very high degree of privacy protection. Specifically, it does not collect any data except the phone numbers of non-infected users, and only collects anonymized meeting data (and no location or other metadata) of infected users – this data is only available to a hygienist after voluntary data transmission by the user.

No data is transmitted to the server without explicit user agreement.