Now it is here, the starting signal for the much-anticipated corona warning app of the German government. The media reported a lot about the requirements and expectations of the app. It had to be trustworthy so that as many people as possible can use it. There was much speculation and controversy about the effectiveness of such a warning app and about an expected start in Germany.
The closer the app came, the more the functionality, data protection and the disclosure of program codes on the open source developer platform GitHub became the subject of discussion. One thing has not changed: everyone’s expectation of the Corona warning app is high that it will make an important contribution to the containment of the Covid 19 virus. Those responsible in politics and science, German government and the Robert Koch Institute, never tire of emphasizing that the Corona-Warn-App is a component to better control the epidemic. This can only be achieved if the hygiene rules such as keeping distance, hand hygiene and mouth and nose protection continue to be strictly observed.
Data protection, as the public discussion about the Corona warning app also shows, is elementary. Hardly had there been any talk of a possible app when the question of appropriate data protection was being debated. What and which data are collected, used and stored by whom and for what purpose? Initially, there was disagreement as to whether the app users' data should be stored centrally in a cloud or should remain decentralised on the users' respective smartphones. Once this question had been clarified and the decision had been made to store the pseudonymized data decentrally, development of the app could begin. At the end of April, Deutsche Telekom and SAP were entrusted with this task by the German government. Right from the start, clear communication and absolute transparency were ensured for this project. All information was documented by the developers on the open-source platform GitHub, accessible to everyone. IT specialists, scientists and data protection experts are predominantly positive about the app and rate it as data protection-friendly, according to the Data Privacy Advisory Board of Deutsche Telekom.
In a statement, it says: "The Data Privacy Advisory Board welcomes Deutsche Telekom's commitment to introducing a decentralized corona warning app. This is an expression of the company's willingness to assume social responsibility. At the same time, it again demonstrates the company's sensitivity to the protection of personal rights. The concept pursued for the app gives confidence because it aims to quickly organize useful help that is professionally appreciated, is considered secure in terms of data privacy and inspires conceptual confidence. The creation of the app again reveals the global dependence on two terminal operating systems. The Data Protection Advisory Board recommends that the shared responsibility of the various groups of actors be made the subject of public relations work. It regrets that it has not yet been possible to find uniform European solutions capable of creating the same level of trust.
Data Privacy Advisory Board
Independent data privacy experts advise the Management Board of Deutsche Telekom.