In a draft decree, the government plans to change certain rules related to TousAntiCovid, its tracking app, in particular by introducing possible QR codes at the entrance to certain closed places. And, by the way, is freed from an obligation ratified 6 months earlier: publish a report on the operation of the application by January 31, 2021.
Remember: it was the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic in France, the first lockdown, and the debates around the launch of the StopCovid contact tracing application. The government had granted debates of several hours to the National Assembly, saying it was ready to answer all questions and concerns about the functioning of the French sovereign app.
Nine months later, things have changed a lot.
The specialized media APM News has spotted, on January 12, 2020, a draft government decree which aims to modify certain characteristics of TousAntiCovid, the new name of the StopCovid application. It was made public on the website of the Ministry of Health the same day, in the form of the publication, not of the draft, but in the opinion of the little known COVID-19 Control and Liaison Committee (CCL-COVID), seized in November.
The CCL-COVID opinion was issued on December 15, and shared on the website of the Ministry of Health on January 12, 2021, almost a month later. The objective of the decree concerned is to modify the one of May 29, 2020, relating to the data processing of StopCovid (which was thus called at the time).
This draft decree has not yet become a decree – indeed there is no official publication date. It allows, if it were to be passed as is, to change several important aspects in the way TousAntiCovid is used today.
As a reminder, this is a smartphone application supposed to record contacts between two people, to be able to warn one if the other is declared positive for Covid-19. Many questions and debates have been raised since its creation, such as the choice of a solution incompatible with those favored by European neighbors, of a centralized system, the effectiveness of the application which, in addition to being very irrelevant on iPhone, is based on Bluetooth technology known to be very unreliable.
Here are the main axes that we find in the new draft decree, some of which raise real questions about the lack of explanations or pedagogy on the part of the government.
Scan QR Codes to enter enclosed spaces
This is probably the most dense and important part of the modifications that this draft decree suggests to put in place. Numerama will endeavor to detail these proposals in the coming days in future articles, because the extent of the unknowns is vast.
We thus learn that the government would now like to open the door to the use of the QR Code to enter closed places. CCL-COVID puts it this way: “ In a simplified way, a QR code will be positioned at the entrance of certain places at risk (list of places being identified in connection with SPF), the person flashes this code (a phone with camera is therefore sufficient) and thus makes a check-in on the date ‘d’ for a duration ‘t’ depending on the type of place. »
We can read in the draft decree:
« Information relating to the attendance of a closed place allowing the gathering or the meeting of several people obtained by a QR-code made available inside or in front of this place. This information is stored by a dedicated server in order to inform the user that he has been in contact with a person diagnosed or screened positive for the covid-19 virus and having frequented the same place during the same time slot. »
Almost nothing is known of the functioning of this hypothetical future system, nor how the data would be precisely kept, nor which places would be concerned, nor whether there will be a mandatory character for scanning QR Codes, etc. The ministry will have to specify a lot of terms in this proposal.
Prioritize access to Covid tests for notified users
Please note, this is not a question of all the users of TousAntiCovid having priority for access to the tests.
On the other hand, it is well suggested in the draft decree that people who have been notified by the application that they are potentially contact cases can ” benefit from a screening examination under priority conditions as a contact person ».
For the moment, the people considered as priority for access to tests are those who have been notified by human tracing that they were potentially contact cases, by the CPAM especially.
This means that if you have received a notification from TousAntiCovid, you will have the right to be considered a priority for a test, as if you had been notified by a human being. ” People notified by TousAntiCovid (considered as contact persons) will have priority in the same way as any other contact person (identified by Contact Covid or by an attending physician) Can we read in the report of the CCL-COVID.
Remove any time limit from its operational report obligation
In the decree establishing StopCovid, it read: ” The data controller makes a report on the operation of StopCovid public within thirty days of the end of the implementation of the application, and no later than January 30, 2021. However, the General Directorate of Health (DGS) has never published this major report on the operation of the application, and even less in the month following its activation, last June.
While there are only 15 days left for the DGS before having to submit this report, the government provides in this decree to withdraw any time obligation, by removing the ” January 30, 2021 ».
Collect more app usage data (anonymously)
The Ministry of Health therefore no longer has a deadline to provide the report on the operation of StopCovid, nor TousAntiCovid. The same goes for usage statistics, which are still very few, and even less shared.
In the opinion of the CCL, however, we read that the government plans to start collecting data anonymously in order to know the ” user browsing data, average Bluetooth activation time during the day, average application open time, number of contacts scored, number of crossed contacts “. But note however that ” the objectives of these analyzes, the type of data processed and the recipients of the analyzes must be explained. »
For the moment, no additional explanation or guarantee has been provided.
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