While the technology for collaborative and non-geolocalised tracing of Covid-19 infectees on which Apple and Google are working was announced as part of the French government’s StopCovid application, the State decided not to use this platform.
The announcement of the StopCovid application was immediately fraught with controversy. The idea was to acquire a technological tool capable of spotting smartphones detected nearby by the Bluetooth sensor and displaying an alert if one of the owners of the crossed mobiles in the last 14 days reported being sick with Covid-19.
The choice of permanent access to the Bluetooth function was justified for reasons of privacy and energy management.
The government has just announced through Cédric O, Secretary of State for Digital, that the Stop-Covid application would not use the services offered by both Google and Apple. In a statement to the JDD, the latter considers that:
It is the mission of the State to protect the French people: it is therefore up to the State alone to define health policy, to decide on the algorithm that defines a contact case or on the technological architecture that will best protect data and civil liberties.
Several arguments are put forward by the Secretary of State to justify this refusal, including the question of France’s technological sovereignty, the limited impact of this technology, which would only affect 60% of the French population, and the fact that the application will not be able to work on iPhones.
Meanwhile, the CNIL has also given its opinion on the Stop-Covid device. The supervisory and regulatory body considers that the application complies with European regulations on the protection of personal data (RGPD).
However, it calls for caution and will remain very attentive to the deployment of Stop-COVID, which it considers not without risks for public and individual liberties:
However, the Commission’s analysis of the technical protocol confirms that the application will indeed process personal data and will be subject to the DPMR. It draws attention to the particular risks, in particular of trivialisation, linked to the development of a tracking application that records the contacts of an individual, among other users of the application, for a certain period of time.
What do you think of this decision? Is the government going in the right direction by not wanting to use the platform of Apple and Google?