Berlin – From politicians to consumer advocates to the judges’ association: Many supporters of an anti-corona app tie its possible use to the fact that nobody may be forced to install the software.
Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht (SPD) said on Tuesday morning on Deutschlandfunk: “Voluntariness is a very important aspect. We can’t and don’t want to go around it. ” In addition, it had to be clear that it would only be used temporarily and that the data would be deleted after the crisis. “All restrictions may only be used for as long as is absolutely necessary.”
Federal data protection officer Ulrich Kleber also relies on the aspect of voluntariness: “At first, anyone who had met the data would only have it on their cell phone and could share it in the event of an infection,” Kleber described a data protection-compliant solution in the “Wirtschaftswoche”. In addition, it is important that as many users as possible are registered with an app, said Kleber. “The worst variant would be: There are innumerable apps in which only a few thousand users exchange data.” In this way, infection chains could not be broken.
The Federal Consumer Association considers the introduction of an anti-corona app useful – but only under certain conditions. The app must not only be voluntary but also “suitable, necessary, proportionate and limited in time,” said association board member Klaus Muller. It had to be ensured that only necessary data was collected and that the data could not be passed on to companies.
The German Judges Association sees it similarly: “A corona alarm for the cell phone can be a useful component if the user remains voluntary and is subject to strict legal requirements,” said federal managing director Sven Rebehn of TEH. “Technically, a cell phone app should be limited to the purpose of a distance and contact detector without making any conclusions about the identity or location of users.” In addition, the measure would have to be limited and clear deletion obligations for stored data should be provided.
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) meanwhile said that a consistent search for contact persons for infected people is “much easier” digitally than by hand with a lot of back phone calls. As long as there is no therapy and no vaccine, the coronavirus can only be kept under control if it is possible to identify the contacts of infected people “very, very quickly” and to ask them to stay at home, said Spahn in Dusseldorf.
Spahn originally planned to allow health authorities in an “epidemic situation of national scope” to identify contact persons for sick people using cell phone location data. After fierce criticism from the opposition, but also from the SPD, Spahn initially postponed these plans. We are now talking about the possibilities of an app that citizens could install voluntarily and that anonymously warns them if they have had contact with a confirmed infected person. In Austria, the Red Cross has made a corresponding app available.