German contact-tracing app launches as EU eyes revival of travel and tourism

The German government pitched the new contact-tracing app, called Corona-Warn-App, to citizend on Tuesday. The app, which works on Apple iPhones and Android phones is a contact-tracing app that seeks to break the chain of coronavirus infections, one of several such apps that European governments hope will help to revive business, travel, and tourism lost to prolonged shutdowns and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

German contact-tracing app: Corona-Warn-App
Corona-Warn-App

Douglas Busvine for Reuters:

The Corona-Warn-App… uses Bluetooth short-range radio to measure close contacts between people and issues a warning should one of them later test positive for COVID-19.

“This app isn’t a cure-all. It’s not a free pass. But it’s an important additional tool for containing the pandemic,” Health Minister Jens Spahn told a launch event.

Germany joins Italy, Poland and Latvia in launching apps based on technology from Apple and Alphabet’s Google that preserves privacy by logging Bluetooth contacts securely on devices.

Public enthusiasm for the app has been mixed – last week’s Politbarometer opinion poll for ZDF found that 42% of people would download it and 46% would not, while 8% didn’t have a new enough smartphone.

MacDailyNews Take: This German contact-tracing app cost German taxpayers 20 million euros ($23 million) to develop. For an app that won’t work anyway* that’s based on a FREE API provided by Apple (and the little puppy who follows Apple wherever they go). That’s only about $22.9 million over what it should have cost (and we’re being generous). Gotta love government efficiency!

Have fun fleecing taxpayers worldwide, developers!

*No matter how convoluted well-designed the Apple-Google contact tracing system is on paper, in practice too few people will install and use it. These apps are designed to provide a digital security blanket to help increase confidence for going back to work more than anything else.

Centralized or decentralized, the whole thing is pie-in-the-sky piffle. Coronavirus contact tracing / exposure notification apps are nothing more than pablum for the masses. It’s simply a case of governments wanting to be able to tell citizens, “Want to feel safe while getting back to work, shopping, going out to eat, vacationing, etc.? There’s an app for that. Don’t worry. Be happy. Download this app and go about your business.”

Might these apps help in some cases to get the relatively few people who will use them to seek testing or self-quarantine if/when the alarm goes off? Of course. But, overall, these apps are little more than security blankets for the citizenry to clutch on their way to herd immunity and, for governments that use a centralized system, to track the spread of infections on the way to herd immunity.

More about the myriad issues of Bluetooth COVID-19 contact tracing apps can be found in our Takes here, here and here.

How to opt out of COVID-19 contact tracing in iOS 13.5

1. Open the Settings app.
2. Scroll down and tap on Privacy.
3. Tap on Health.
4. Tap on COVID-19 Exposure Logging.
5. Tap the toggle to turn the feature off.

COVID-19 Exposure Logging is set to “Off” by default.

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