DUBLIN/BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe’s experiment in using technology to fight coronavirus has achieved some early successes: millions of people have downloaded smartphone tracker apps and hundreds have uploaded the results of positive COVID-19 tests.
FILE PHOTO: The COVID Tracker Ireland app used for contact tracing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is displayed on a mobile phone, as it is held up for an illustration photograph in Galway, Ireland, July 30, 2020. Picture taken July 30, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/Illustration/File Photo
Yet most European countries so far lack solid evidence that their apps – which identify close contacts via Bluetooth connections with nearby users – are actually alerting people who may have caught the disease before they can infect others.
The reason? Design choices made by governments and their app developers to protect people’s privacy.
In many of the 11 European territories using architecture designed by Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O)