The EU’s coronavirus ‘gateway’ connects contact tracing apps in Germany, Ireland and Italy | Instant News


German coronavirus tracking apps have started exchanging alerts with similar apps from across Europe as part of an EU-led plan to internationalize contact tracing.

The application technical frameworks in Germany, Ireland and Italy are now compatible with each other due to the EU “gateway” system, which enables cross-border contact tracing.

Four more countries, Spain, Czech Republic, Denmark and Latvia, will join the program in the coming week, with the EU expecting up to 16 members by the end of 2020.

Britain looks set to be excluded from the scheme due to the country’s departure from the European Union. The system is anonymous and does not allow identification of individuals, nor can it track the location or movement of devices.

Jens Spahn, Germany’s Federal Health Minister, praised the collaborative efforts amid the increasing number of cases.

“Everywhere in Europe, infections are increasing again. Today, national alert apps are making a real difference. Because every chain of infection that, thanks to the application, is severed more rapidly, helps contain the pandemic, “Spahn said in a statement.

“With our new gateway service, we are connecting applications across Europe. Like this, contacts can also be warned during or after a trip abroad. “

Stella Kyriakides, EU commissioner for health and food safety, praised the international functionality of the app, saying “when it works across borders it becomes a more sophisticated tool”.

The Bluetooth-based application infrastructure is compatible for use with all countries that have adopted a decentralized and anonymous tracking system – the same system developed by Apple and Google and implemented in UK NHS Applications – UK acceptance into an “impossible” framework due to legal hurdles and political.

News website Tech Crunch reports that in order to be allowed to join the project, the UK will need to negotiate and develop a separate legal agreement with the EU. Switzerland and Norway, as non-EU members, will also be asked to negotiate separate arrangements to join the framework.

France and Hungary will also be excluded from the framework because their applications rely on a centralized data collection system.

After initially developing applications relying on centralized data storage, the UK changed course in June due to technical issues and delays. Germany made a similar change in April, mainly because of privacy concerns.

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