The European Commission has started testing the backend infrastructure required to allow national coronavirus contacts tracking apps to work together across the internal boundaries of the block.
Test runs will be started between the backend servers of the official apps from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Latvia and the newly established gateway server, which is being developed by T-Systems and SAP and will be set up by the Commission’s data center operated in Luxembourg, it was said today.
The service is scheduled to go into operation in October. This means that EU member states with compatible apps can extend digital contact tracking for app users traveling within the group of countries listed.
Interoperability guidelines for national coronavirus contacts who track apps were agreed back in May.
The commission says the gateway service will only exchange a minimum of data ̵
“The information exchanged is pseudonymized, encrypted, kept to a minimum and only stored for as long as is necessary to trace infections. It doesn’t allow individuals to be identified, ”it adds.
Currently, only decentralized national apps for tracking coronavirus contacts are compatible with the gateway service. While the Commission says it continues to support the work being done in some Member States to find ways to extend interoperability to tracking apps with different architectures, it is not clear how viable this will be without privacy risks.
The main benefit of the interoperability plan for national coronavirus contact tracing apps is that EU citizens do not need to install multiple tracing apps unless they are traveling to another country in the region that has a national app with a compatible architecture.
In addition to the different choices of the app architecture, some EU member states do not even have a national app. So it is clear that there will continue to be gaps in cross-border coverage for the foreseeable future, adding to the challenge of breaking (non-domestic) travel-related coronavirus transmission trains.