Bluetooth contact tracing app set for adoption in Switzerland

Bluetooth contact tracing app set for adoption in Switzerland

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

Over the past two months, researchers from across Europe have been working on an open source, secure and private contact tracing application. This is set to be adopted by the government of Switzerland in the next two weeks. 

The DP-3T (Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing) project is led by a Swiss team from EPFL, along with ETH Zurich and researchers from KU Leuven, TU Delft, University College London, the Helmholtz Center for Information Security (CISPA), the University of Oxford, and the University of Torino. The project also includes Swiss software development experts Ubique and PocketCampus. The full solution is still in development, but is already available as an open-source protocol on GitHub.

Pascal Strupler, Director-General of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), confirmed that his office is working with EPFL and ETH Zurich to complete an app by May 11th. “It will be based on the DP-3T concept of EPFL, and will leverage the new Google and Apple Contact Tracing APIs as soon as they are available,” he said.

DP-3T proposes a secure, decentralized, privacy-preserving proximity tracing system based on the Bluetooth Low Energy standard. Its goal is to simplify and accelerate the process of identifying people who have been in contact with someone infected with the Covid-19 virus, helping to slow its spread. The system aims to minimize privacy and security risks for individuals and communities, and guarantee the highest level of data protection.

“The innovative efforts of the EPFL-ETH Zurich team, along with their collaborators, show that it is not necessary to trade off personal privacy to put in place an effective technological response to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Jim Larus, dean of EPFL’s School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC).

In Switzerland, the DP-3T effort is being coordinated nationally as part of the National COVID-19 Science Task Force of the Swiss Federal Council, within the “digital contact tracing” track. Strupler adds that the FOPH, along with other Swiss federal agencies, fully supports the DP-3T approach.

“There is a common view of the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner, the National Centre for Cyber Security, and the National Ethics Committee that a decentralized approach best meets the Swiss needs for maximum protection of privacy,” he said.

There are many other contact tracing technologies being developed, including the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT) project. This is a non-profit organisation n Switzerland with 130 members across eight European countries, including Fraunhofer HHI and IIS adn the Robert Koch Institute in Germany,as well as Inria in Italy and mobile phone network operator Vodafone,  

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