The Apple-Google Contact Tracing app will be the first trial in Switzerland


Switzerland launches a pilot program this week for Swiss Kovid, a connectivity program based on APIs developed jointly by Apple and Google.


The API works with devices running iOS 13.5 and Android 6.0 or higher.

The pilot included several thousand workers from the Cole Polytechnic Federer de Loessen, ETH Zurich, the Swiss Army, and many hospitals and cantonal administration staff.

The app monitors real-world situations that inform participants who are exposed to COVID positives.

This will continue until the Swiss parliament debates its legal basis in June. It aims to launch nationwide in mid-June.

However, the app is publicly available on the Google Play Store for several hours on Monday.

EFPL spokesman Emmanuel Byrd said the entry was banned on Tuesday.

Although the number of unauthorized downloads is not disclosed, inadvertent access should not affect the pilot's effectiveness, Byrd said.

How Swisskovid works
Swiss COVID uses Bluetooth low-power beacons to exchange and record the phone's proximity detectors in areas around the user. Identifiers are kept on the phone until the user has tested positive for COVID-19.

The app asks a user who has been in contact with one or more people for a long time and then tested positive for COVID-19. The user must be with a COVID positive person for no more than 15 minutes or less than six meters to two meters.

Swiss COVID refers to the day of risk exposure and tells the user what procedures to follow.

Users who test positive will be given a single-use code by their physician, which allows them to voluntarily transmit their phone's ephemeral keys, which are contagious for days, and administered by the Swiss administration. For servers.

Swiss COVID uses a decentralized privacy-protection proximity tracing (DP3T) protocol to reduce data collection and sharing.

The protocol from EPFL's Security and Privacy Engineering Laboratory is a joint work of 25 academics from research institutes in Europe.

"Our goal is to provide a solution that can be adopted in Europe and around the world," said Carmela Troncoso, assistant professor at EFPL and head of its SPRI Lab.

The European Union plans to follow simple rules for using mobile apps to track the spread of coronaviruses.

Security and privacy
Contact tracing has led to many concerns about security and privacy.

Researchers have discovered seven security flaws in the UK's app. A security flaw in Qatar's Ehatraz mandatory tracing app has exposed more than 1 million personal information.

In the United States, Democrats and Republican lawmakers have issued a competition for bills that target privacy in COVID-19 contact tracing applications.

Apple and Google have sought to remove barriers to privacy and security concerns based on the need for public health authorities (PHAs) to sign legal agreements regulating the use of the Apple-Google API:

Apps created using the API can only be used to fight a coronavirus infection;
The amount of data collected should be minimal;
PHAs must obtain consumer consent in several stages;
Users can turn on and off risk notifications;
They cannot ask permission to use the smartphone's location services;
They cannot use user data collected for such purposes as targeted advertising; And
Depending on government policy, the API will only be available to one application per country or region.
All metadata associated with Bluetooth is encrypted.

Centralized vs decentralized
There is considerable debate in Europe over whether to adopt a centralized or decentralized approach. The UK has taken a centralized approach, decentralized by Swiss Kovid, which stores personal data collected only on users' phones.

"Governments prefer centralized proximity tracking because they receive more information. They have more detailed information about consumers and citizens to understand deeper trends," said Constellation Research chief analyst Ray Wong.

However, the success of the policy depends on the trust of the collector, and "privacy advocates are concerned about the rise of social graphs in the hands of governments," Wong told TechNews World. "Advocates of privacy prefer a decentralized approach."

Andrew Group chief analyst Rob Anderrell says "decentralized models" are faster. If those data are decentralized, they may be more resilient to large-scale breaches.

However, because of their increased complexity, greater contact surface, and weaker links, it is difficult to save overall, Anderle told Tech News World. In addition, the analysis is "often slower and less comprehensive."

Underlay says the centralized system is safer and easier to maintain, faster, and less expensive to analyze. They are also often stronger.

Centralized systems, on the other hand, do not conform to local rules such as moving data, Anderle points out. They make it easy to capture the entire database if it breaks down and is completely destroyed in the event of a disaster.


Coming to America

The US. There is no clear indication as to which approach is best.

"The question is what solution protects people's rights," said Mike Jude, IDC's research director.

"Obviously, this will be a decentralized app," he told Tech News World. "However, this is a very American point offering - independence is more important than centralized control."

However, both approaches are dangerous because "we are building infrastructure that easily distorts the police state," Judd said. "Any such system can be used for vicious purposes."

A team of 200 scientists around the world has raised concerns that the tracking app could be misused for surveillance purposes.

Despite problems in the US, Jude said, "If the COVID-19 vaccine doesn't pan out, or the second wave is worse than the first wave, people may want to contact tracing."

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