the government hopes to deploy the QR-codes by the end of January

A decree to modify TousAntiCovid is currently being evaluated by the Council of State. If the project is published as is, it would allow QR-codes to be placed at the entrance to certain public places, which app users could scan. The goal: to introduce a new method of contact tracing.

On January 14, the APM News press agency spotted a draft government decree, aimed at making important changes to the TousAntiCovid (TAC) app. Relatively difficult to find, the document is only accessible through of an opinion of the Covid-19 Control and Liaison Committee (CCL-Covid) on the project, dated December 2020.

Among the novelties presented, one stands out: the deployment of QR-codes – square barcodes that must be scanned with the camera of your smartphone – at the entrance of public places. In other words, the government plans to integrate into TousAntiCovid a third method of tracing contacts, linked to places at risk.

Contact tracer, information hub and now QR-code scanner? // Source: Numerama

This January 19, The world has obtained confirmation of this will from the government, through the cabinet of Secretary of State for Digital Cédric O. The article also provides some details on the implementation of the device, although many questions remain unanswered. But the executive should quickly provide answers: according to Le Monde, the decree is currently being examined by the Council of State, and the government is considering publication by the end of January 2021.

“High risk” and “moderate risk” locations

The CCL-Covid opinion mentioned that QR-codes could be deployed in a wide range of closed public places, including public transport. The cabinet of Cédric O specifies that the functionality was especially designed to accompany the reopening of bars, restaurants and gyms, the date of which is still not known. In any case, the list of places that could present QR-codes is still being defined by Public Health France.

Then these places would be divided into two categories: to ” high risk of transmission “And” moderate risk of transmission », According to various criteria, including their surface, their ventilation or the public welcomed. It is not yet indicated what this distinction would imply as a consequence.

A TousAntiCovid for places

Le Monde also provides clarification on the very functioning of QR-codes. Scanning the QR-Code would be tantamount to recovering his pseudonym (a series of random numbers and letters) on TousAntiCovid.

It works relatively similar to that of the app between two users. When they are at a certain distance from each other, two TousAntiCovid apps will exchange pseudonyms, specific to each app, and renewed at regular intervals via Bluetooth.

In the new use of TAC, scanning the code would amount to making this same type of exchange, in one direction, and with an advantage: the QR-code is a much more reliable means of retrieving pseudonyms than Bluetooth, whose the relative ineffectiveness of this task is increasingly proven.

Will the government communicate on the changes?

Then, a server would be responsible for locating when a case declared in the app has retrieved the pseudonym of a place, and for warning all users who have retrieved this same pseudonym over a close time slot. The CCL-Covid opinion specified that this server would not be the same as the central server of the app.

If the use of QR-codes in this possible “TousAntiCovid 3.0” becomes clearer, too many questions remain unanswered. These questions are all the more numerous as the government does not officially communicate on this change project. It remains to be seen whether we will only be able to find out about them once deployed, or a few days before.

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Source: Numerama by www.numerama.com.

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