#lessonslearned What is Contact Tracing and why it affects everyone

What is Contact Tracing and why it affects everyone , 30.06.2020, Parco Ciani, Lugano:

A reflection on the Swiss Covid App by Dr. Christian Garzoni, health director of the Moncucco clinic: “Particularly today, when we are going through the containment phase of #Covid-19, it is a moral duty of citizens to do everything possible so that society can stem the return of the virus…“.


A reflection by Philip di Salvo, researcher and journalist, on the protection of privacy and rights in the use of tracking apps: “When it comes to the protection of privacy and rights […] this approach (of the institutions) was not taken for granted, especially considering the first narratives where total tracking was thought of […] It was said that privacy was an obstacle to saving lives, a type of narrative that those who study surveillance like me know can serve to normalize mass surveillance. This did not happen because responsible decisions were made that respect the right to privacy, I think thanks to online discussions…“.


Massimo Banzi , co-founder of Arduino explains the role of bluetooth technology in the collection of personal information: “Most of the bluetooth devices we use in our daily lives continuously collect data and information, so we must be careful when using them. […] With the technologies we have available today it is very easy to install algorithms in any object that can collect data and track our location…“.


A reflection by Patrizia Pesenti, status advisor, on data security in tracking apps: “Unlike the vast majority of applications that accumulate a vast amount of data and then resell it, #SwissCovidApp stores personal information on the user’s device without disclosing it to third parties“.


Intervention by Markus Krinke, professor of modern philosophy and social ethics, on how sociality and society are increasingly linked to digital technologies: “Many people have noticed in this period that #digital exists when we are already living in a digitalized world […] this solidarity also […]. to stay at home also to protect others) has been produced, for the first time in the history of our society, also thanks to the digital media that have transmitted information […] our rights, our freedoms are becoming more and more related to others and societies must adapt and be part of this change“.


An analysis of the legal point of view on the data protection aspects of the Swisscovid app by lawyer Gianni Cattaneo: “The data protection policy has been checked and set up in such a way as to comply with the provisions of Article 60 of the Federal Act on the fight against communicable human diseases (Epidemics Act) […] The Swisscovid app has been tested by a national cyber security centre and the federal data protection officer and both have expressed a very positive opinion in terms of privacy and respect for personal data“.



Intervention by Sang-II Kim, Head of the new Digital Transformation Division of the Federal Office of Public Health, on the technology used by Swisscovid app: “The technology used by #SwisscovidApp is very simple […] data is exchanged and recorded on devices via Bluetooth […] thanks to this app we have the possibility to report infected people and thus break the chain of infection. […] Regarding the use of several tracking apps at the same time: Apple and Google have imposed technological limitations so that only one application can be running on a device that relies on an API protocol and therefore each country must have its own app. However…


A reflection on the critical aspects of tracing apps by Clelia Di Serio Professor of Epidemiology and Statistics: “One critical aspect concerns the use of tracing apps by older people, i.e. the population group most at risk. […] this segment is in fact the one with the widest #digital divide, but at the same time it is the one that most needs to be protected and use all the necessary tools to do so […] Another aspect to consider concerns the identification of possible outbreaks. […] Apps such as #SwisscovidApp and #Immuni do not use geolocation, in order to protect the privacy of the citizen, and are therefore not able to identify the position of a possible positive and prevent the emergence of potential outbreaks“.


Intervention by Paolo Attivissimo, journalist and divulger, on how the mobile phone has been adapted as a tool for tracing contagions: “Let’s keep in mind that we are using a tool that is a mobile phone for a function for which it was not conceived, so we are adapting a technology that was born for other purposes. Inevitably there will be an error rate […] the application should be understood as a support tool and not as a substitute for traditional #contacttracing […]. ] there are many situations in which this tool may not work, for example if you wear a mask, proximity when there is a window or a Plexiglas, but it is not a big problem because the criteria of this application are just to make a first step, suggestion to the user and I think this is very important to understand […] it is better to have a false alarm than to risk…


Matteo Colombo, president of the Italian Association of Data Protection Officers, has reflected on the critical aspects of regional or large company tracing apps: “… we must think about the usefulness of the contact tracing app also with other devices such as the tampon, the mask, the Bluetooth […] Another interesting topic will be that of interoperability, does my app speak with the Swiss and German apps? The project is currently underway […] There are also many regional apps or mini-apps from companies that are based on centralised systems […] so we don’t have to clear all the apps through customs…


Check out more #lessonslearned here!