TousAntiCovid is less effective against covid, Cnil said

The fifth Cnil report on digital tools in the fight against coronavirus focuses on the “marginal benefit” of TousAntiCovid and its primary function: contact tracking.

Who remembers the TousAntiCovid app? At least one body: the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (Cnil). On Monday July 4, the authority in charge of ensuring compliance with the law on personal data released the fifth report on technical tools activated against the coronavirus pandemic.

It emerges from this new development report that the mobile application, which is designed to circulate information between smartphones that use it once in close proximity to a sick person, has not changed much within a few months. Updates received recently have not significantly changed the operation of the app.

Therefore, Cnil has not conducted any other checks since mid-July 2021 to verify compliance with the General Regulations on the Protection of Personal Data (GDPR) tool. The final update for Android starts on June 16 and worries ” various repairs and repairs which does not involve adding new functions.

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The primary function of TousAntiCovid is not judgmental against covid

But there is one point that still persists in Cnil: the interest in the application to combat the spread of the virus. The report concludes that TousAntiCovid’s primary function is far from showing interest in it. The Commission even mentions a “ marginal utility »Contact tracking (contact tracking), even if this is the main function of the app.

Contact tracking, which involves using a Bluetooth link to send pseudonymised information between two smartphones, via a central server run by the State, to determine if you are near a patient man for some time, in fact requires a set of preconditions in fact. make a difference.

It should be remembered that people need to have a smartphone (preferably not an iPhone), that they have activated Bluetooth for the application, that it needs to be installed and configured, that the sick individuals are registered in the app on their medical condition and that the remote transmission is successful. But of all the people you’ll meet in a day, who marks all these boxes?

The CNIL report highlights this. Now ” Bluetooth contact tracking functionality in the global system to fight the Covid-19 epidemic [est] relies heavily on the number of actively used applications “. However, the app may be on phones, but not opened and activated for months. It may even be uninstalled at times.

TananAntiCovidQR
The app has not been shown to play a critical role in resisting the spread of covid. // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

To underline this impression of forgetting the app’s existence, Cnil says “ usage statistics for the contact tracking feature (proportion of positive cases declaring themselves in the app, number of users notified, proportion of people who tested positively declaring themselves in the app after being notified, and etc.) not very high. »

However, the Commission acknowledges the added benefit of TousAntiCovid if there is a more active circulation of the virus, ” due to the increase in the number of periods of epidemic peaks “, resulting in a” continuous improvement in the efficiency indicators of the “contact tracking” function “. But even in these times, the role of the TAC is rather coincidental.

A limited contribution to health crisis management, but also because the app wants to be the least intrusive possible.

Cnil’s analysis of TousAntiCovid however was accompanied by a setback: it received a second report from the parliamentary government later, which prevented it ” to analyze carefully […] the use of the TousAntiCovid application, its allocation to users and the effectiveness of contact tracking functions. »

Cnil’s findings led him to say that the application could be sustained due to the epidemic crisis, which is further rising in the seventh wave, especially since the combined guarantees to preserve privacy remain satisfactory – the point previously related to authority. responded to updates.

However, it advises individuals to use it only during periods of active virus circulation. And in government, the institution reminded him that application use should be limited to the time required to address an exceptional health condition. But clearly, it seems that more and more French people are choosing themselves to reject it.

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The health pass // Source: Numerama/Melvyn Dadure

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