Technology experts already asked questions when it turned out that Devside could make the coronatracing app for our country. The company is small and unknown. It now appears that Devside’s website had customer references that were not justified. VRT NWS determined that logos from Pizza Hut and Belfius have disappeared.
“We have never worked directly with Devside,” a Pizza Hut spokesperson told the public broadcaster. “Someone who once worked as a self-employed person once built an application with us.” The pizza chain asked Devside to remove its logo from the website. Nobody was available for comment at Devside.
Can the company still be trusted with the important app to detect corona infections, which the government hopes will be installed by as many people as possible? Competent Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke refers to top IT officer Frank Robben. He does not approve of what Devside did on his website, but says that no judgments were made based on that website, but based on the substantive offer.
Robben points out that the choice of developer was not overnight. “The tenders were assessed by a jury consisting of skilled professors,” he says. There were only two candidates for the development of the app, and the consortium with Devside was reportedly about ten times cheaper than its competitor. The other candidate, a consortium around the German SAP group, was also less flexible. According to Robben, the development of the app, which should be ready in September, is currently going well.
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Belgians can be confident that the app will be safe, Robben believes. The development is supervised by top scientists and a reputed company will screen the application for safety. The full code of the app will be made public before launch. No data is stored at Devside, which is done by government agency Sciensano. And all this data is anonymous, Robben emphasizes.
The Belgian corona app will warn users if they were with an infected person. The added value of the app is that people who do not know each other are also linked to each other, for example commuters sitting next to each other on the bus. The Belgian app will work on the basis of Bluetooth, and not on the basis of GPS data. The government cannot therefore know where someone was infected.