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Sport France: success of the TousAntiCovid app despite persistent bugs

19:00  29 october  2020
19:00  29 october  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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TousAntiCovid, la nouvelle application de traçage des cas contacts au coronavirus a été activée par 4,3 millions utilisateurs actifs en une semaine. © AP Photo / Francois Mori, File TousAntiCovid, the new application for tracing contact cases with coronavirus was activated by 4.3 million active users in one week.

If StopCovid, the first version of the application for tracing contact cases with coronavirus, had flopped in France, the new version of the device seems to appeal to Internet users a little more.

According to the Ministry of Health, the few computer bugs that disrupted the launch of TousAntiCovid were due to a queue phenomenon due to the high number of downloads of the application. Hiccups at startup, therefore, but no flop in anticipation, affirms on Twitter the minister in charge of digital Cédric O, indicating that the application was at the top of downloads on the evening of its launch. The adoption of the device is confirmed by figures: the new digital tool was activated by 4.5 million active users in one week.

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Overall, TousAntiCovid will operate like the previous one in a very centralized mode, unlike other European applications which have been developed in partnership with Apple and Google and which do not concentrate all their data in state computer servers.

A centralized mode which had however put off users of the old version, recalls, Harold Li , Vice-President of ExpressVPN , a company based in Hong Kong and specializing in the confidentiality of the data of online Internet users, that we joined over the phone. "There are concerns about the French position around the TousAntiCovid application, which consists of centralizing the data collected rather than decentralizing it," he explains. While it is a good argument to emphasize that user information is not shared with other European countries, it nevertheless poses a risk to the privacy of citizens' personal data. It also flies in the face of key recommendations made by big tech companies as well as the European Commission itself. And if the data is supposed to be anonymous, centralization remains a problem because many cases in the past have demonstrated the possibility of re-identifying users through supposedly anonymous data. And this is exactly where we should focus our attention. "

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Epidemic figures and QR code

Technically, the new application is calibrated like the old version on a set of criteria that define contact cases. For example, the duration and proximity of crossed smartphone owners in a day. It is always downloaded "on a voluntary basis," and an infected person must signify their consent before disclosing their test results to a third party. In addition, the tracking application provides access to key figures of the epidemic on a daily basis with departmental and regional variations.

On the other hand, the QR code system to record the passage of consumers in restaurants will be integrated into TousAntiCovid soon. Certainly the reopening, after the second confinement, of these establishments and other public places, in which this damn virus loves to spread.

See also: Coronavirus in France: after the flop, a new version of StopCovid in preparation

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