Apps could play a key role in reducing the need for social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.
EU member states, with support from the European Commission, have developed an EU toolbox for the use of mobile applications for contact tracing and warning in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, member states have been assessing the effectiveness, security, privacy, and data protection aspects of digital solutions to address the crisis. Well co-ordinated contact tracing apps, if fully compliant with EU rules, can play a key role in all phases of crisis management, especially when it comes to gradually lifting social distancing measures. They can complement existing manual contact tracing and help interrupt the transmission chain of the virus. The toolbox is accompanied by guidance on data protection for such mobile apps,.
A common approach for voluntary and privacy-compliant tracing apps
The toolbox provides a practical guide about implementation of contact tracing and warning apps. It sets out the essential requirements for these apps:
A common approach to other functionalities, in particular on information and symptom tracking, may be developed in future versions of the toolbox.
The toolbox reflects the latest best practices in the use of mobile contact tracing and warning apps to tackling the crisis. It will be updated as time goes on. By 30 April 2020, public health authorities will assess the effectiveness of the apps at national and cross-border level. Member states should report on their actions by 31 May 2020 and make the measures accessible to other member states and the Commission for peer review. The Commission will assess the progress made and publish periodic reports starting in June 2020 and throughout the crisis, recommending action or the phasing out of measures that seem no longer necessary.