Germany launches coronavirus tracing app using Apple/Google system

Posted:
in General Discussion
The German government has released its COVID-19 contact tracing app for iOS and Android, and is urging the local population to download it.

Detail from the German App Store description
Detail from the German App Store description


After abandoning its own scheme and adopting coronavirus exposure notification technology from Apple and Google, the German government has launched its app. The new Corona-Warn-App follows similar ones launched in Italy, Poland and Switzerland.

"Everyone who downloads the app, and everyone who encourages friends to do so, is making a difference," said health minister Jens Spahn on German ZDF television, according to Reuters.

The app was developed by Germany's Robert Koch Institute, which has published its source code on GitHub as part of its aim to reassure people concerned about the privacy of their data.

"The app remembers our encounters with others in a decentralized manner and informs us digitally when we have had encounters with demonstrably infected people," says the app description in the German iOS App Store (in translation). "However, at no time does it collect information about the identity of its users. Who we are and where we are remains secret -- and our privacy is well protected."

Earlier, ZDF had conducted a poll which showed 42% of people planned to download the app, while 46% did not -- and 8% didn't have a smartphone. Previously the German government had said that 60% penetration was needed for the app to work, but Reuters says they have walked that back and are no longer specifying a target.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    mbenz1962mbenz1962 Posts: 160member
    Unfortunately, it seems to only be available in the German iTunes Store. My phone is set to the US iTunes Store and so I cannot download the app even though I would be willing to use it here. 
    I never changed iTunes stores even after I moved here as I had purchased more than a hundred movies from the US store before I moved, and there isn’t an easy way to switch back and forth. 
    When you switch stores Apple only gives you a warning that some items in your library may not be available in your newly selected store. A comprehensive list would be great so that you can see if it is just one old episode of a TV show you bought and haven’t watched 10 years won’t be available after the change or if it means 80% of your movie library will no longer be accessible. 
    Additionally you have to cancel all subscriptions (including Apple Music), spend all store credit in your account and potentially leave your family sharing group. This is just too much trouble to go through for me personally.
    It is a shame that many app developers outside of the US only make their apps available in just one country or a few neighboring countries. Many US developers make their games, productivity and other apps in a wide variety of iTunes storefronts.
    jony0
  • Reply 2 of 8
    The limited availability of apps is a pain in the ass, I switch between 4 Apple ID’s (one German, one Norwegian, one US and one UK) to be able to download several special apps not available in the other app stores. 

    Even worse: Apple News does not work even after switching to the right App Store and downloading the app. It recognises that my main (iCloud) Apple ID is not US. Sigh. I just wanted to read the news. 

    Family sharing between me (Norway) and my mother (Germany) does not work either. 

    At least there should be one common european App Store - not a dozen ones. Not sure if I’ll be still alive when this will be combined user friendly. Be more cosmopolitan, Apple! :)

    MS

    mbenz1962 said:
    Unfortunately, it seems to only be available in the German iTunes Store. My phone is set to the US iTunes Store and so I cannot download the app even though I would be willing to use it here. 
    I never changed iTunes stores even after I moved here as I had purchased more than a hundred movies from the US store before I moved, and there isn’t an easy way to switch back and forth. 
    When you switch stores Apple only gives you a warning that some items in your library may not be available in your newly selected store. A comprehensive list would be great so that you can see if it is just one old episode of a TV show you bought and haven’t watched 10 years won’t be available after the change or if it means 80% of your movie library will no longer be accessible. 
    Additionally you have to cancel all subscriptions (including Apple Music), spend all store credit in your account and potentially leave your family sharing group. This is just too much trouble to go through for me personally.
    It is a shame that many app developers outside of the US only make their apps available in just one country or a few neighboring countries. Many US developers make their games, productivity and other apps in a wide variety of iTunes storefronts.

    mbenz1962jony0
  • Reply 3 of 8
    The chaos computer club says the German app is “not bad” :smile:  ...but why couldn’t the European countries agree to all go for a compatible(!) solution, based on the Apple/Google-API? Every country is making it’s own soup. Some better tasting, some worse (with central data bases), but viruses don’t stop at borders. 
    jony0
  • Reply 4 of 8
    The chaos computer club says the German app is “not bad” :smile:  ...but why couldn’t the European countries agree to all go for a compatible(!) solution, based on the Apple/Google-API? Every country is making it’s own soup. Some better tasting, some worse (with central data bases), but viruses don’t stop at borders. 
    Better to have each country (or the 50 states individually in a single country) pay for, build and maintain their own apps (incompatible with each other) - now that's modern day efficiency.
    jony0
  • Reply 5 of 8
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,093member
    The chaos computer club says the German app is “not bad” :smile:  ...but why couldn’t the European countries agree to all go for a compatible(!) solution, based on the Apple/Google-API? Every country is making it’s own soup. Some better tasting, some worse (with central data bases), but viruses don’t stop at borders. 
    Different countries have different regulations. An app written towards US privacy standards would be completely illegal here. 
    williamlondonjony0
  • Reply 6 of 8
    spheric said:
    The chaos computer club says the German app is “not bad” :smile:  ...but why couldn’t the European countries agree to all go for a compatible(!) solution, based on the Apple/Google-API? Every country is making it’s own soup. Some better tasting, some worse (with central data bases), but viruses don’t stop at borders. 
    Different countries have different regulations. An app written towards US privacy standards would be completely illegal here. 
    Funny how the opposite isn't true at all, but coming up with excuses not to do something is always so much easier.
    bonobobjony0
  • Reply 7 of 8
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    spheric said:
    The chaos computer club says the German app is “not bad” :smile:  ...but why couldn’t the European countries agree to all go for a compatible(!) solution, based on the Apple/Google-API? Every country is making it’s own soup. Some better tasting, some worse (with central data bases), but viruses don’t stop at borders. 
    Different countries have different regulations. An app written towards US privacy standards would be completely illegal here. 
    Funny how the opposite isn't true at all, but coming up with excuses not to do something is always so much easier.
    Indeed. 
    williamlondonjony0
  • Reply 8 of 8
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,093member
    Well, in Germany's case, the federal government paid for and organised development of this app. 

    In the United States, the head of the federal government just suggested that testing for Covid-19 ought to be stopped because the sharply rising numbers make him look bad. 

    That probably explains the difference. 
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