As a reminder, StopCovid allows you to warn people who have been in prolonged contact with individuals infected with Covid-19. The application is based on Bluetooth technology and a centralized protocol.
A very complicated development
During the parliamentary debate which led to the vote on this device, several criticisms were addressed to this tool. Some see it as a major attack on individual freedoms, and fear that we may slip into a surveillance society. Others question the effectiveness of this app, which they believe requires a sufficient number of French people to download it. The problem would be all the greater since the elderly, who are most at risk, are among the least equipped with smartphones.
Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O, insists on the transparency of StopCovid, part of the code of which has been revealed to the public. In addition, it will be fully anonymized and based on volunteering. The minister also praises the Made in France aspect of the application: “This is an emblematic project of what French researchers, industrialists and entrepreneurs can do.”
Since the start of its development, tensions have also arisen between the government and the tech giants. France refuses to use the API developed by Google and Apple when most of its European neighbors have opted for this decentralized solution.
The delay in StopCovid, which was originally scheduled to be released on May 11, is also due to problems encountered on iOS. Bluetooth localization is hampered on Apple’s operating system when the application is running in the background. It was a real concern that led Cédric O to ask the apple brand for technical modifications, which the latter refused.
We will now have to see how the French decide, or not, to appropriate this new tool and whether it is proving effective in preventing a new upsurge in the epidemic.
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