Rift opens over European coronavirus contact tracing apps - (Yahoo!News via NewsPoints Desk)

  • A rift has opened in Europe up over the design of smartphone apps to trace people at risk of coronavirus infection, which may hinder efforts to curb the pandemic, as reported Yahoo!News on Monday.

  • Scientists from more than 25 countries published an open letter on Monday asking governments not to abuse such contact tracing technology to spy on people and warning of risks in an approach championed by Germany.

  • A German-led initiative, called Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT), has been criticised for being too centralised and thus prone to governmental mission creep, while its critics back a decentralised contact tracing protocol called DP-3T created by Swiss researchers, that is aligned with a technology partnership between Apple and Alphabet's Google.

  • "We are concerned that some 'solutions' to the crisis may, via mission creep, result in systems which would allow unprecedented surveillance of society at large," the letter said.

  • The apps should be voluntary, and would need to be downloaded by at least 60% of the population to achieve the digital herd immunity needed to suppress COVID-19, according to researchers from Oxford University's Big Data Institute.

  • "Solutions which allow reconstructing invasive information about the population should be rejected without further discussion," the letter said.

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