How does the app work?

On Wednesday, the French parliament approved the use of a warning app to help further contain the coronavirus. According to media reports, the “StopCovid” app, which is due to launch in the coming days, will warn its users, among other things, if they have been in the vicinity of infected people. In Germany, a comparable Corona warning app is expected to be completed and published by mid-June.

The German government has commissioned Deutsche Telekom and software company SAP to develop an app that will help to track infection chains in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. Project manager and senior development manager SAP Martin Fassunge explains how exactly the app should work .

“It uses Bluetooth to measure the distance between people,” explains Fassunge. “The app enables the mobile devices to remember the contacts that have met the defined criteria (proximity and time). The devices exchange temporarily encrypted identities with each other. ”If users were tested positive for an infection, they can voluntarily inform their own contacts via the app.

“In the event of an infection, the encrypted IDs of the infected are made available to all mobile phones of the app users.” A corresponding comparison then takes place locally on your own smartphone. The end devices “can then check whether they were in contact with the transmitted IDs. If there is a match, the user is warned of the critical contact. ”

“The app stores data decentrally,” explains Peter Lorenz, head of the Digital Solutions portfolio unit at T-Systems. “So information stays on the smartphone. Incidentally, this is the approach that Apple and Google generally take. We are also working intensively with the data protection community. ”Every step in the development was coordinated with the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI) was“ close from the start involved. Taken together, this leads to a high level of security. ”

Although the Corona Warning app is used on a voluntary basis, there are good arguments for using it. “If everyone is quickly informed about a possible infection, they can react quickly and protect themselves and others. So the app helps to protect your own family, friends and the entire environment, ” says the Federal Government’s homepage . In addition, people’s memories are not 100 percent reliable. The smartphone, on the other hand, remembers all contacts – be it with your own parents or just a chance meeting in the supermarket.

The official website of the German Corona warning app has been online for a few days. Those interested can find all the important information there. Among other things, the technical background is explained in more detail and further possible data protection concerns are discussed. Current information is also available on the aforementioned website of the Federal Government and on the open source platform Github . Technically savvy users gain insight into the development process and can also help themselves.

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