Scientists warn of corona apps’ privacy risks

Scientists warn of corona app
Photo credit: Omroep Brabant

Scientists are warning the government about the corona apps it wants to deploy. About 60 scientists have signed and sent a letter regarding this to the cabinet yesterday.  The signatures include those of scientists from the Tilburg and Eindhoven universities.

The government’s considering deploying two apps. One will allow users to view and report coronavirus symptoms; the other works based on location. People would be able to see if they have near others infected with the virus.

“Using track-and-trace and health apps have very far-reaching implications. It is, therefore, important to take a critical look at usefulness, necessity, and effectiveness”, the scientists write. “It’s precisely in times of crisis, that careful social and legal considerations have to be taken to determine whether such highly invasive measures should be taken.”

Also an ethical issue

According to the critics, technology’s rarely the solution to a problem. They advocate looking at the issue not only from a technical point of view but also with an ethical eye. “The use of the apps mustn’t affect our fundamental rights and freedoms.”

One of the scientists who signed the letter is Lamber Royakkers of Eindhoven University of Technology. “We’re not against these apps. The important thing is that the implementation must be done very carefully”, he stressed on Tuesday in the morning show, Wakker!, on Omroep Brabant radio. “Citizens have the right to know what these apps mean and what the consequences are if they’re introduced hastily and carelessly. That’s why we’re now taking a stand.”


Translation: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives Inburgering lessons. Click here for more info.

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