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Technology in the fight against Covid-19

Since four months ago, one of the most talked about subjects in the world is Covid-19 because all of society in a global way had to adapt to this reality, to find new ways of living, new ways of socialising and new ways of working. A bit all over the world, countries have adapted to this reality, some with more severe measures, others with softer measures, but all of them have worked to fight the virus.

The governments of several countries, in partnership with major technology companies such as Google and Apple, are implementing a measure consisting in the creation of applications that allow the user, in real time, to know if he is in a space with someone contaminated by the New Coronavirus. This way, the user may choose not to go near the place where the infected person is.

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So the question arises: how will this type of applications work and what will they be based on?

First of all, these applications will be developed to work through the Bluetooth, i.e. with prior registration by the user, who will have to provide certain data indicating whether or not he/she is contaminated. The device will connect to the various devices in the vicinity using this technology.

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So, when moving to a certain place, the device connects through Bluetooth to the devices of those who have the application, issuing an alert whenever there is someone infected in the vicinity.

Theoretically, this type of application may be very useful for our society, but to what extent will it indicate with real accuracy if there are people infected by the virus? Another question raised is to what extent technology can “turn against us”, disrespecting the principles of the data protection law.

The European Commission’s answer to this question is that these applications can only operate if they guarantee that the data collected does not identify users and that all the information is aggregated and anonymous.

Are therefore these types of technologies useful to reduce the risk of contamination of the New Coronavirus in a reliable way? Can these applications comply with the guidelines imposed by the European Commission?

To date, we do not have an answer to these questions, but we hope that with time both can be clarified.


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