AS PART of the gradual lifting of lockdown and strict social distancing measures around the EU, the European Commission, along with member states participating in the eHealth Network, has overseen a coordinated approach to develop an EU toolbox for the use of mobile applications which would facilitate contact tracing and warning. This was paired with a set of guidelines on data protection applicable for any resulting applications.
On June 16, member states agreed on the technical specifications which will be used to guarantee a secure data exchange between the various national contact tracing applications. This endeavour is based on a system of decentralised architecture. This affects the bulk of tracing applications that are already or are about to be launched within the European Union.
This technical solution aims to facilitate seamless use when a user travels from one member state country to another. A decentralised approach, meaning one utilizing a distributed ledger, will also be used here.
Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “As we approach the travel season, it is important to ensure that Europeans can use the app from their own country wherever they are travelling in the EU.
“Contact tracing apps can be useful to limit the spread of coronavirus, especially as part of national strategies to lift confinement measures,” Breton added.
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides stated: “Digital technologies are crucial to alert our citizens about infection risks and break transmission chains as we reopen our societies and economies. I call on our citizens to use them, as these technologies can only be effective if we have a critical mass of users, with interoperability of the applications across EU borders. Data security, fundamental rights and privacy protection in these digital tools will be non-negotiable.”