Covid-19 tracking app download a “civic duty”

in News · 04-09-2020 01:00:00 · 13 Comments

Prime Minister António Costa has stated that installing the ‘Stayaway Covid’ application on mobile phones, which allows infection contacts to be tracked, is a “civic duty” to stop the pandemic while there is still no vaccine.

“Understand that it is a civic duty for people to download this application and to signal if they have had a postivie test of Covid-19,” said António Costa at the launch of the initiative, in Porto, during a ceremony attended by the Minister of Health, Marta Temido.

The ‘Stayaway Covid’ app is a voluntary mobile application that, through the use of physical proximity between ‘smartphones’, allows the quick and anonymous tracking of the contagion networks by Covid-19, informing users if they have been in the same location as someone infected with coronavirus within the past 14 days.

“Please download the application, do not be afraid”, said the Prime Minister.

As the schools and courts reopen, people return from their holidays and to their places of work and concentrations of people on public transport increases the prime minister has said that downloading the ‘Stayaway Covid’ app is a “very important” tool to stop the spread of the virus.

The only way to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic does not get out of hand and that the country does not go through the same situation as in March and April depends “solely on the citizens”, he said, adding that the application does not guarantee a cure but it guarantees the interruption of the transmission chains. “This is a small effort, but a fundamental effort”, he said, adding that people still need to continue with wearing masks, disinfecting hands and maintaining social distance.

The Minister of Health also called for citizens to download the app while reiterating that it is a “confidential and safe” tool that is “absolutely essential” to help the work of health authorities.

The app, which is available in the Apple store and the Google store, is available in English and has been downloaded over 100,000 times.
The app works as a radar by sharing randomly generated depersonalised identifiers with nearby mobile phones. These identifiers are stored for 14 days on your mobile phone only. The app does not require access to individual’s location nor to personal data.

According to information from the app: “If someone you have been in close contact with very recently later tests positive for Covid-19, Stayaway Covid will alert you. With this information on your side you can self assess your infection risk and make decisions that will affect your health and the health of those you live and interact with.

“If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19, with the result of your test you will be given a code that will allow the app to alert all of those you have come in close contact with in the past 14 days but preserving your anonymity. This is a fundamental step to break chains of infection and protect you and others health”.

While the government is calling on citizens to download the app, consumer association Deco has highlighted reservations about Stayaway Covid in relation to the possibility of the misuse of personal data by Google and Apple.

“We cannot recommend the installation of StayAway Covid without reservation”, says Deco Proteste, adding that “the decision is on the consumer side”.

The organisation considers that “there is a possibility of undeclared and misuse of personal data by Google and Apple”.

The StayAway Covid app uses the ‘Google / Apple Exposure Notification’ system, known as GAEN, which provides access to features at the level of the mobile phone’s operating system (Android or iOS).

According to Deco Proteste, the GAEN notification system “does not follow the principle of open code and transparency about entities involved in data processing”, so “it opens the door to the possibility of third parties, in particular the two technological giants (Google and Apple), to make undeclared and improper use of the personal data obtained “.

The mobile application, being based on the GAEN system, “does not allow total scrutiny, since the code of this part of the system is not public”.


Thank you John for clarifying that. I "woke up", I "rose" up, but they didn't say what to do next, so I had breakfast...

By William from Other on 08-09-2020 11:03

The app does not store or look at your information or search history. It only pings your location information history and then if another user admits to a Covid diagnosis the app can tell if you have been in close proximity to that person's phone. Of course they must also be using the app
The information is only kept in the app for 14 days.
There are no privacy concerns. Over 1.7 million people in Ireland have downloaded an identical app.

By John from Other on 07-09-2020 04:36

Civic Duty? No. Population control. Very evil.

By Ben Smith from Other on 06-09-2020 12:55

First they spread panic in the population, then they forced the lock-down upon us with all the economical, social and psychological consequences, now we have to use useless masks. In the meantime an enormous amount of public money has been spent on expensive tests, which are not suited for what they are used to, and on the purchase of a new vaccine which effects and side effects are beyond our knowledge. And now a general surveillance...... How far are we willing to go?

By Monika from Lisbon on 05-09-2020 05:03

If we wish to be free if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

By Magnus from Other on 04-09-2020 09:50

No! No! No!.

By susan from Alentejo on 04-09-2020 06:42

People who don't have a smart phone, and there are many, have none of these 'privacy' worries. Those people will be out of the loop, they will receive no alerts and they will be totally unaware if someone carrying the virus has been in close proximity and infected them.
These apps were rushed in as one solution, to prevent virus from spreading in groups perhaps.
The best advice still is: keep a safe distance, wear a mask and stick to the hygiene rules.

By Annie from Algarve on 04-09-2020 05:04

Bob is right. Unless you've shut off your location, your web searches, and all that "privacy" stuff on your smart phones for dummies, it's already too late! Having to post everything, and tell everybody what you're have no privacy with social media!

By William from Other on 04-09-2020 03:08

Just when we thought it was only on T.V
‘Big Brother’ wants to watch you for real !
One thing is for sure : We will NOT stand up to this ! Our freedom is too precious for them to dictate to us !

By Paul from Lisbon on 04-09-2020 02:11

Personally, I'd want to warn others that they may be in danger if I'd inadvertantly infected them. You give far more information to Google and Facebook than you do to this anonymised app

By Bob from Porto on 04-09-2020 12:19

What about wearing a yellow star if you test positive? Or putting those people in a quarantine camp and of course we take there children away? It looks that there are still a lot of people who don't want to see were this is going, just look at Australia, New-Zealand and China; wake up.

By Pedro from Lisbon on 04-09-2020 11:08

This is an infringement in personal liberties! We should not allow our government to spy on us!

By Anna from Madeira on 04-09-2020 05:48

Mass surveillance quite literally underway
Another sign democracy as we know it is no longer.
The mention of ‘our civic duty’ taken straight out of their ‘divide and conquer’ play book.
When will we ever learn ?
I’d say today is the best time ever for our collective great awakening. Rise Up People , the time is NOW !

By Madalena Rodriguez from Madeira on 04-09-2020 02:20
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