Germany changed course on Sunday over which type of smartphone technology it wanted to use to trace coronavirus infections, backing an approach supported by Apple and Google along with a growing number of other European countries.
The raffle began when EU countries started exploring ways to use digital apps to track the spread of COVID-19, “contact tracing” an idea first introduced by Apple and Google earlier this month. The EU found itself in the middle, with France and Germany supporting an centralized system, Apple and Google for the latter.
The idea first proposed by Germany with an initivate called “Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing,” which was a centralized system for data collection. It quickly received sharp criticism from the community, pushing Germany to find a solution.
In an interview on Sunday Germany Chancellery Minister Helge Braun said:
“We will back a decentralized architecture that will only store contacts on devices. That is good for trust,”
As noted by Reuters, Bluetooth tracking is still moderately new, and its development and implications on society are still unknown. Our best hope is looking at Singapore which was one of the first countries to adopt such a system for measuring “closeness and length of contact between people and, should a person test positive for COVID-19.”
While Germany has jumped onto the Apple and Google boat, other countries still remain hesitant. France has yet to make a reversal on their prior comments supporting an alternative to the Silicon Valley proposed solution. Additionally. New Zealand, not signaling direct disagreement with the companies, however also not signaling any support is developing a “credit-card” shaped tracker instead.