Personal Health

As the Corona-Warning App works, where you can download and what you can really do

For the way from the Corona-crisis in the normality a lot of people hope on for months, announced Corona-Warning-App. Now the App is actually available. To help, the chains of Infection to detect at an early stage and to break through.

Where can you download the App?

After week-long preparations for the official German Warning App for the fight against the Coronavirus in the night to Tuesday is gone to the Start. In the App Stores of Google and Apple is ready to Download. The Download is for all citizens to volunteer to facilitate with the help of Smartphones, the Tracking of infections. The government promotes a wide use and promises high privacy

What you can do with the App?

The App can help people are later informed if they have lived in the vicinity of infected people. While you do not know who these people were – and not whether one is currently in addition to infected persons.

Privacy and pandemic

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How does it work?

With the App, a Smartphone turns into a small “Bluetooth beacon” that transmits continuously an identification number in the surrounding area. At the same time the phone listens to, whether it can be Bluetooth signals from other receive. Users who have both run the App on hold for a certain period of time, side by side, exchange the Smartphones of their IDs.

The App jeopardizes the privacy of the user?

When programming the App and associated services, a multi-level concept was implemented to ensure the highest possible level of data protection. It will not be exchanged, the identities of the users, but anonymous IDs, which can change several times in the hour. The IDs of the contact persons are not stored centrally, but decentrally at the respective Smartphones. Only the list of anonymized IDs of the Infected is kept on a Central Server.

How is the Corona-Warning App from other Corona-programs?

According to the guidelines of Google and Apple, it can give per country the only official Tracing App, the possible infectious contacts to be tracked. This is the Corona-Warning App by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), developed by SAP and Deutsche Telekom. There are, in parallel, other applications with different objectives: The data-donation-App of the RKI about a collects information from Fitness trackers, to see if there are in the regions of abnormalities. Other Apps monitor how many people are in a certain area, such as a section of the beach on the Baltic sea.

What is the difference between the German App from applications in other countries?

Apps in Asian countries such as China, Singapore, South Korea or India, do not comply with the German data protection requirements, because they provide, for example, users only, or by the analysis of GPS signals, a motion profile can create. The App in France, similar to the approach used in Germany, but on a Central storage of contact data. Other countries, such as Switzerland or Austria, like Germany, the data protection guidelines of Apple and Google and will be able to use the technical interfaces (APIs) of the Tech companies.

On which Smartphones is the App can be installed?

The iPhone, the latest iOS 13.5 minimum requirement. The for devices from the iPhone 6s or the iPhone SE. An old iPhone 5, 5S or 6 is not enough. In the case of Android phones, the situation is a little confusing. Here must be supported for a Bluetooth LE. The is Android 6 the case. On the other, but do not need to run the Google Play Services, because the group provides the interfaces over Android, but this Google services. Android phones without Google Play Services, such as the latest Huawei models, that are not included.

Is activated the Warning App by the operating systems from Google and Apple automatically?

No, the exchange of anonymous contact IDs via Bluetooth only if you installed the Corona-Warning-App is voluntary and the data exchange active agrees.

The danger that the Corona-Warning App will not be used secretly to Monitor the population?

No, this is practically out of the question. The source Code of the App can be viewed on the platform GitHub transparent. In the case of several analyses of the code, there are no back doors or other abnormalities were discovered.

There is for the Warning App has its own legal basis?

No, the Federal government believes that the existing privacy laws are sufficient and will be supported in the Bundestag, the FDP. The Green party and the Left demanding that the use of the App is governed by a law. So not only the Installation of the App should be voluntary. There should also be no obligation to carry a Smartphone with a running App, and a visit to a restaurant, shopping or events to show. Also, the AfD demands that there should be no discrimination of Non-users.

How many people need to use the App, so that you get the desired effect?

A study from Oxford says that the full effect is achieved only then, if 60 percent of the population or more to participate. However, this will not be likely to reach. Even a popular App like WhatsApp took years to reach such a high installation rate. But experts also point out that every Installation counts, and effects may be seen at a significantly lower rate of achieved.

Federal Minister of health, Jens Spahn said, the App should also be able to at the “listen to music on the phone” even run – what the technical Problem is there?

“Listening to music on the mobile phone” is used as a proxy for applications, which run parallel to the Warning App. This could also be Google Maps or any other App. In particular, the iPhone, the challenge was that Apple has not permitted a program to constantly sending Bluetooth signals in the Background and receive. With the API for the Corona-Warning-App Apple makes for a targeted exception. And also in the case of Google, the parallel operation of the Apps will be optimized now. The App developer had to ensure that these interfaces are used optimally.

How it can be prevented that the App will drain your battery too quickly?

This was solved in principle by the fact that we have agreed on the use of Bluetooth LE. LE stands for Low Energy (low power demand). The App’s developers promise that the application consumes nearly as much power as Streaming music to a Bluetooth speaker. Whether the promise can be kept, will show the practice.

How safe are the Warnings can be alarms App against wrong?

Since the Bluetooth technology has not been developed for the measurement of distances, it will certainly be false alarms. It may also be that the Infected behind a glass wall have been located and trigger an Alarm, even though the contact no risk of infection ran out. Therefore, the developers point out that the App can only provide a limited contribution to the normalization. It is not a wonder weapon. Anyone who wants to protect themselves and others from infection, should also maintain the App distance and wear a mask.

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