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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 13.07.2024, 04:32

Latvia's Covid-19 contact tracking app to be ready by mid-May

BC, Riga, 28.04.2020.Print version
Latvian IT companies are working on a Covid-19 contact tracking application which should be ready by mid-May, Arvis Zeile, board chairman of Web & Mobile solutions provider MakIT, told LETA.

Zeile indicated that the new app has been tested for about three weeks to make sure it will run on all operating systems and meet all epidemiological requirements. 

In Zeile's words, the coronavirus contact tracking app will be practical and safe ICT solution, providing significant support to epidemiologists at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, as it will allow tracking Covid-19 patients' contacts more efficiently. Users will have to install the app in their mobile devices. The app will use the Bluetooth technology to detect other devices within a distance of two meters of the mobile device. 

The IT expert explained that the contact tracking app will use encrypted data exchange to ensure the identity of the contacts detected by the app is not disclosed. A person who becomes infected with the coronavirus will be given a special code which has to be entered into the app to launch the contact tracking mechanism. The app will be saving data for 14 days before automatically deleting them.

For the app to work, Bluetooth will have to turned on. 

"We will not be processing geographical data and will not be sending them anywhere," Zeile said. 

Ingmars Pukis, vice president of Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) mobile operator, said that users' consent will be needed to transfer the information accumulated in the app to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, which is the owner of the app.

The app will be free and its use voluntary, and it will only be used to combat Covid-19. The app will be operated in line with the European Union's regulations on personal data protection, the LMT representative said. 

Pukis revealed that the private sector companies involved in the development of the Covid-19 contact tracing app include LMT, MakIT, TestDevLab, Zippy, Vision and ITcentrs, as well as Andris Berzins, a co-founder of the nongovernmental organization  TechHub Riga

The academic and public sector representatives supporting work on the app include President Egils Levits and the State Chancellery, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the Health Ministry, the Data State Inspectorate, the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence (StratCom) and the University of Latvia. 

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