German authorities reportedly aim to launch an app to help monitor potential Covid-19 (coronavirus) infections, which is currently being developed by an eminent research institute in the country.
Reuters reported authorities are keen to deploy a system similar to one released in Singapore, which uses Bluetooth handshakes between smartphones to assess if owners have come into contact with someone who tests positive for the illness.
An app being developed by the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz Institute (HHI) is thought to fit the bill for Germany, where digital surveillance is hotly resisted, the news agency wrote. Rather than tracking location data, it would use the handshakes to assess the proximity and duration of contact between device owners, who would then be contacted in person.
The institute told Reuters the system could be up and running in a matter of weeks.
Operators including Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and Telekom Austria have already begun providing anonymised data to authorities as part of a broader industry effort to assist in combating Covid-19.
There are, however, concerns over potential breaches of European data protection laws: HHI told Reuters its effort would meet strict German regulations, while the agency previously reported operators had acted to ensure compliance with the regional requirements.