Norway pulls its coronavirus contacts-tracing app after privacy watchdog’s warning

Following a warning from the watchdog Friday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) said today it will stop uploading data from tomorrow — ahead of a June 23 deadline when the DPA had asked for use of the app to be suspended so that changes could be made. “We do not agree with the Data Protection Agency’s assessment, but now we have to delete all data and pause work as a result of the notification,” said FHI director Camilla Stoltenberg in a statement [translated via Google Translate]. “With this, we weaken an important part of our preparedness for increased spread of infection, because we lose time in developing and testing the app. Developments that have led the watchdog to intervene are a low contagion rate in the country and a low download rate for the app — meaning it now takes the view that Smittestopp is no longer a proportionate intervention.“We believe that FHI has not demonstrated that it is strictly necessary to use location data for infection detection,” said Bjørn Erik Thon, director of Norway’s DPA, in a statement posted on its website today.Unlike many of the national coronavirus apps in Europe — which use only Bluetooth signals to estimate user proximity as a means of calculating exposure risk to COVID-19 — Norway’s app also tracks real-time GPS location data.“To my knowledge, this is the first instance in which a European DPA has imposed a ban on a contact-tracing app already in use in light of national developments regarding contagion levels,” he told us. “Another element that was criticised by the Norwegian DPA was that the app’s users are currently unable to consent only to the use of their their data for infection tracking purposes without consenting to their data being used also for research purposes.“The DPA also questioned the accuracy of the app in light of the current low level of contagion in Norway, and criticised the absence of an appropriate solution for aggregating and anonymising the data collected.”

Read more at: https://techcrunch.com/2020/06/15/norway-pulls-its-coronavirus-contacts-tracing-app-after-privacy-watchdogs-warning/