The government commissions the National Institute of Public Health to provide a new infection tracking app based on Apple and Google’s framework.
The government scraps the infection control app that was launched in April. Now the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) will try to get a new app instead.
This is stated by the Ministry of Health and Care Services in a press release on Monday afternoon.
So far, it has cost up to NOK 40 million to develop the Smittestopp app, FHI said at Monday’s press conference.
The new solution, based on the framework from Google and Apple, is in line with what FHI has recommended, the ministry writes in the press release.
Gun Peggy Knudsen at the National Institute of Public Health said during the government’s press conference on Monday afternoon that the goal is to have the new solution ready before Christmas.
– Less intrusive in privacy
– We need even more measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The government has therefore decided that a new app will be created based on the international framework from Google and Apple, says Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie in the press release.
– This app is only for infection tracking, it does not store data centrally, and is therefore less intrusive in privacy than Infection Control was, says the Minister.
Now that a new app is under development, the Data Inspectorate will follow up the work to ensure that privacy is actually taken into account.
– We must consider this solution and have not seen more than what came out at the press conference today. But based on what we have received so far, this seems better in terms of privacy, says the audit’s director Bjørn Olav Thon to E24 on Monday afternoon.
The Data Inspectorate believes it is positive that both GPS and central storage will no longer be part of the app.
Several countries in Europe have used solutions from Apple and Google, and is one of the reasons why the National Institute of Public Health has recommended the solution, Knudsen stated in FHI during the government’s press conference.
“NIPH has established contact with several countries, and will build on the experiences they have gained,” it says in the press release from the Ministry of Health and Care Services.
– An app based on this technology also makes it possible for digital infection tracking across national borders. It will be important to be able to open up for increased travel activities, says Høie.
FHI deletes all data from the Infection Stop app
Deleted data from infection stop
In mid-June, FHI chose to delete all data from the Smittestopp app after the Data Inspectorate sent a notice of a ban.
The audit was of the opinion that based on the situation at the time of the prevalence of infection, low support for the app and “inadequate achievement of the objectives of infection tracing and evaluation of infection control measures”, they did not consider it a “proportionate intrusion” into users’ privacy.
The Data Inspectorate stated at the time that it had received complaints and non-conformance reports from FHI which showed that the access solution for the Infectious Disease app did not work, which the Authority believed was a violation of Article 15 of the EU Privacy Regulation.
On Monday, Thon states that the audit will meet NIPH, and consult with its colleagues in the European countries that have used the app before Norway.
– We are well aware that this has been used elsewhere. It increases the chance of doing this in accordance with the regulations for privacy in many countries that are similar to our laws, he says.
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Hope to discover cases sooner
The new app will be in addition to the current system for manual infection tracking. Høie points out that there have been many local outbreaks this autumn and that it is important to prevent these from spreading by testing close contacts quickly.
– If the app can contribute to more cases of infection being detected earlier than otherwise, it will have great value. All individual cases we manage to test and isolate reduce the burden of infection, says Høie in the press release.
Read the press release here