The Corona Warning app recorded almost 10 million downloads after the first four days – and the trend is rising. Linus Neumann, the spokesman for the Chaos Computer Club, praises the transparency of the development and is almost astonished that politicians once listened to data protection. Overall, he couldn’t complain.
Critical voices ask whether the high development costs were justified – only the development that Deutsche Telekom and SAP had taken over after the failure of the PEPP-PT project cost 20 million euros, maintenance and operation including the hotline and accompanying advertising campaign will cost another 45 million this and next years.
Misuse of the app is only possible with great effort
Some experts believe that everything took far too long. Others say they would like to have seen a longer trial period before it was released. Possible security risks discussed since the beginning of the concept were confirmed in practice two days after the app appeared by scientists from TU Darmstadt, the University of Marburg and the University of Würzburg.
However, they also confirm that the potential for abuse is more of a theoretical nature. Motion profiles could be achieved with a great effort by a few, individual app users identified as positive. And in practice, the publication of the app source code, which has been praised by security experts, has the consequence that malicious attackers of the app could cheer fake contacts. However, this would be more sabotage against which the functional principle must be hardened than an actual weak point.
International exchange would be technically possible
Some people weep for the European approach of PEPP-PT – the app that has just been released initially only works in Germany. However, the globally uniform Google-Apple protocol offers a good basis for synchronizing the anonymous identifiers of potentially infectious encounters recorded by national Corona warning apps, as well as contacts tested positive, also across national borders. The challenge for this lies on the political-organizational rather than on the technical level.
Automated procedure for test results is hardly supported
The same applies to the procedure for managing corona tests integrated in the app: If the app warns that he has had potentially infectious contact in the past few days, he should test it as soon as possible via his family doctor or the medical on-call service 116 117 Apply for a virus and have it carried out.
In this case, the app is also used to find out the result of this test more quickly – as with the overall concept of its precautionary effect, the primary aim is to save valuable time compared to conventional analog processes. According to the Robert Koch Institute, only 20 percent of the test capacities available in Germany are prepared to support the automated process offered by the app. Increasing this number is also important so that the hurdle to really report a detected infection to the back-end infrastructure is as low as possible.
Interim conclusion on the Corona warning app
Despite the criticisms mentioned, the conclusion of the first few days could be all in all: In the final spurt of the months of app development, the leading parties did a lot right.