How does the CoronaMelder app work? – RTV Noord

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Five questions and answers in a row.

1) A card with notifications?

If you were asked to make a corona app yourself, you might think that a Google Maps-like map is useful, which shows you where infected people or trouble spots are in relation to your location. You will automatically receive a notification if someone with corona is nearby. Although that may seem useful, a completely different way of working of the app has been devised mainly because of privacy.

That is why you cannot see in the app where other people with corona are located. You also don’t see a map where infections were found, and you don’t get a notification every time you are near an infected person.

2) How does the app work?

Instead, the CoronaMelder app works with Bluetooth, a wireless signal that you can switch on and off on your phone. Bluetooth can ‘talk’ to other Bluetooth devices ten meters away.

Every 15 minutes, every user of the CoronaMelder app receives a new, unique code. You don’t see it, but it does happen. If you are within ten meters of another person with the app for a longer period (about fifteen minutes), the codes are automatically exchanged between the mobile phones.

If a user indicates in the app that they have corona, it checks which codes their mobile phone has exchanged in the past fourteen days. If your code is in between, you will receive a message that you have had close contact with someone who now has corona.

You do not see who it is about and when you have had contact, you only get a notification that you have come into contact with an infected person in the past two weeks. The app gives tips on what to do next.

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3) How often do you receive a notification?

Due to the approach of the app, you probably won’t get a notification very often. In any case, you will not receive a report based on an infected person who has just cycled past, or who you just dropped by in the supermarket. That is a misconception. You really must have been in the vicinity of the other person for 15 minutes.

That person must also indicate in the app (in consultation with the GGD) that he or she is infected with corona.

4) Can the government now follow you everywhere?

Precisely because the app works via Bluetooth codes, the app can only see which other phones are close to you. Bluetooth can only ‘talk’ to other devices up to ten meters away from you. According to the app’s creators, the app hands out random codes to the users.

If someone indicates in the app that they are infected with corona, their phone will be checked to see which nearby users have exchanged codes. If your code is there, you will receive a notification in your app.

The app does not use GPS location to constantly see where you are. For example, the government or the GGD – if all goes well – cannot follow you.

5) Does the app take privacy into account?

The app has been developed in the public domain. Several privacy experts are involved, and a different group of security experts tested the app before it was released. The app itself also seems to be fine with your privacy.

For example, the app does not use a GPS location with which you can be tracked, but you do not have to create an account in the app. It is therefore not linked to your name, telephone number or e-mail address. These are therefore not used or stored, according to the app itself. The Bluetooth codes are also sent securely between mobile phones, so that they cannot be intercepted. If you no longer want to participate, you can delete the app and the data from your phone.

Various privacy organizations do, however, question the technology behind the app. The exchange of codes is a technique built by Google and Apple, which are behind the mobile operating systems of Android and the iPhone (iOS). Internet privacy foundation Bits of Freedom thinks the operation of the app is too dependent on the companies, and the Dutch Data Protection Authority wants to see agreements with the tech giants to guarantee the privacy behind the code system.

Not required

Just like using face masks in public areas, using the CoronaMelder app is not mandatory. Several experts state that about half of the Dutch must use the app to get a good picture of the infections and corona. It’s not that far yet. In total, according to the latest figures on Monday, the app has been downloaded just under 2.7 million times for Android and iPhone.

Also read:
– Everything about corona in our Corona blog





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