Immuni can be downloaded throughout Italy and set up with your own information, but for the first few times it will be fully functional only in Liguria, Puglia, Abruzzo and Marche, the four regions chosen for the testing phase. In a press release, the government specified that the four regions “will be able to gradually activate the app’s alerts” starting from June 8, then in a week. It is not clear if in the meantime the health authorities will have access to the data collected by the individual phones, and if the app will also start to collect data from users living in other regions.
The Corriere della Sera writes that the trial should last a week: since mid-June, therefore, Immuni is expected to be active throughout Italy.
– Carola Frediani (@carolafrediani) June 1, 2020
To download it to an Android device, the Marshmallow version of the operating system is required, while for iPhone, iOS version 13.5 or higher is required. Immuni is not currently available for smartphones manufactured by Huawei.
What Immuni is and how it works
Immuni was developed by Bending Spoons, a Milan-based company already developer of “Live Quiz” and numerous other successful international applications, together with the Centro Medico Santagostino (CMS).
The idea behind Immuni follows the prevailing one for the digital tracking of contacts: through the app, each smartphone periodically emits a unique and anonymous identification code (ID), which can be captured by other smartphones that use the same app nearby, within a few meters. The data transmission takes place via a variant of Bluetooth technology (BLE), similar to the one we use when we connect the wireless headphones to the smartphone: to ensure that it works properly, you must keep the Bluetooth receiver always on.
– Also read: How Immuni can change us
If one of the owners of the app reports that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, the system allows you to warn the people he had been around in the previous days, so that they know they may have been infected (thus perhaps choosing to stay at home even if they have no symptoms, and consult your doctor).
Immuni developers ensure that the central system does not store any sensitive user data, and that any trace will be deleted from the archives once the app is dismantled.
What is tracking for?
During an epidemic, contact tracing is useful for identifying people who may have been infected by an infected person. It is a delicate work that is carried out by interviewing people who have tested positive for coronavirus, with the aim of reconstructing which individuals they came into contact with and were therefore exposed to the risk of contagion. The operation requires time and adequately trained personnel, resources that are scarce during a pandemic.
To mitigate the problem, in recent months applications have been proposed and tested around the world that exploit various technological solutions and which should allow for more capillary and above all almost automatic tracing of contacts. The actual usefulness of these systems is not yet completely clear, but the first experiences in some Asian countries such as South Korea have yielded some positive results, however raising numerous concerns about privacy.
– Also read: Do we trust Immuni?