China: the new app will show you have contact with infected coronavirus

The outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus is increasing in China. In order to limit the spread of this pathogen at least slightly, a special application has been made available in the Middle Kingdom to inform users whether they have contact with infected people. However, like any technological novelty in China, the application raises concerns about the privacy of residents of the country.

The application, which the Chinese press agency Xinhua describes as a "close contact detector", was developed by the Chinese Council of State, the State Health Commission and the CETC (China Electronics Technology Group) corporation. The application has also been supported by the Ministry of Transport, Chinese Railways and the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration, thanks to which it is based on accurate and reliable data.

How does the application work? According to Xinhua, after installing it, the user must scan the QR code in Alipay, WeChat or QQ. Then enter your phone number, name and identification number. After this process, the application will inform whether the user was in close contact with a suspected or infected person with coronavirus.

When can you talk about close contact with an infected person, or possibly an infected person? The Chinese State Health Committee explains that it occurs when one person is separated from another, sick (or suspected) and who does not use effective means to prevent infection, a short distance. Close contact can occur between colleagues, people sharing the same class at school, living in the same apartment, hospital employees, mass transit passengers, and more.

Source: Unsplash / Macau Photo Agency

It is not clear on what basis the "detector" generates its results. However, if the user decides that the user has been in contact with the infected, he will recommend staying at home and contacting local health care professionals.

Of course, there are suspicions that the application is just another means to facilitate the Chinese government's surveillance of Middle Eastern citizens. These suspicions are caused by the fact that the "detector" should provide your name, identification number and telephone number, and that its creators have not specified how it works and what data it has access outside of location data.

Who knows, maybe the application will prove useful, but at what price?

Source: Xinhua