The European Commission is calling for a pan-European approach in regards to the usage of mobile programs and information to help monitor the spread of COVID-19.
The Commission, which helps form EU plans, laws, and policies, today signed off on a set of recommended steps and steps to come up with a unified EU approach to using such electronic tools. It stated that mobile apps and data can play a significant part in the gradual lifting of containment measures, as an example, but that significant efforts have stalled those efforts thus far. The recommendation also summarizes key principals for respecting information security.
“Europe is more powerful when it acts united,” said Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market. “Digital technology, mobile applications and freedom data have tremendous potential to help understand the way the virus spreads and to respond effectively. With this recommendation, we put in motion a European coordinated approach for the use of these programs and information, without compromising on our EU privacy and data security rules, and preventing the fragmentation of the internal market.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, many different mobile programs have been developed — some by public authorities, the Commission stated — but there have been calls from its 27 member countries and the private sector for coordination at the Union level, particularly to tackle cyber security, security and privacy concerns.
The EU has the most powerful data security rules in the world, stated Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders. Those rules “are matched too for this catastrophe, providing for flexibility and exceptions,” he explained.
One is a pan-European strategy for COVID-19 mobile programs. That should include specs to ensure the effectiveness of cellular info, warning and tracing apps for combating COVID-19 in the technical and medical point of view. It should also prevent the proliferation of apps that aren’t compatible with Union law. The Commission needs this region of the approach developed, together with member states, by April 15.
The next priority of the arsenal must be a frequent approach for using anonymous and aggregative mobility data, the Commission explained. That data is vital for modeling to map and predict the diffusion of this coronavirus and the effect on the health programs in member nations, such as ICUs, and to optimize the effectiveness of measures to include the diffusion of COVID-19.
To that latter result, the Commission already began a talk with mobile phone operators on March 23. It needs data fully anonymized and sent to the Joint Research Centre for processing and modeling. The information won’t be shared with third parties and will just be saved as long as the crisis is continuing.
As for the next steps post-April 15, member countries are to report about the actions they have obtained by May 31 and make those measures available to other member states and the Commission for peer evaluation. The Commission will evaluate the progress and release periodic reports beginning in June and throughout the crisis, recommending action and/or the phasing out of measures that are no longer vital.
The Commission also said the toolbox should be shared with the European Union’s international partners to exchange best practices and to help tackle the spread of the virus worldwide.
As of April 8, over 87,000 people have died worldwide from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the amount of documented cases is over 1.5 million, according to data at Johns Hopkins University.