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France to Launch Mass Surveillance COVID-19 App

With the spread of COVID-19 there is a critical situation developing all across the globe. All the countries have announced the lockdown for months and have not allowed any businesses and offices to stay open. Social distancing is the greatest vaccine to fight against the dangerous virus COVID-19.

The governments are monitoring the cases count and helping the patients with proper treatment. Moreover, the government is also taking surveys and asking to quarantine in case any individual comes up with the symptoms of COVID-19.

It has been reported that the French government is being met with strong resistance as it is coming up with a tracing app to deal with the coronavirus. The app is officially called StopCovid. The app would operate to track French citizens and inform them if they come into the contact of people who are infected.

On April 26, around 140 French cybersecurity and privacy experts signed an official public warning about the potential risks of StopCovid and other related apps. Experts state that all the applications involve major risks with regard to respect for individual or privacy freedoms. One of those is mass surveillance by private or public actors, against which the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) itself made a promise the Copenhagen resolutions.

A few French authorities have found themselves locked in a standoff with American tech giant Apple as the app is against iOSs built-in-privacy-protection mechanisms, raising concerns in regard to its privacy.

At present, iPhones operating system does not allow any apps to continuously scan for other devices and send users data out via Bluetooth connection in the background. A smartphone needs to be unlocked and applications must be active on the main screen.

Though, the background functionality is indeed a big part of StopCovid, because it wants to constantly store and send the data to a central server managed by state health services. The French government has asked Apple to remove this privacy-focused approach which is becoming a challenge to run the app.