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Luca and Co .: The federal and state governments will soon decide whether to use a new app

2021-03-04T13:50:14.458Z

The Luca app, in which rapper Smudo is also involved, only has partnerships with the health department in some areas. But now Luca is being discussed as a nationwide addition to the Corona warning app.



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App Luca: Mentioned as an example by the Chancellor

Photo: Wedel / imago images / Kirchner-Media

According to North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Armin Laschet, the federal and state governments want to exchange information on a new app for contact tracking by Monday.

That coincides with information from the Federal Ministry of Health.

"We have come to an agreement, it must be national," said CDU chairman Laschet in the state parliament.

Such a solution could make visits to restaurants and cinemas easier.

We are talking about the Luca app, which is also being developed by rapper Smudo from Fantastischen Vier.

(Read more about Luca and similar offers here.)

The federal and state governments decided on a step-by-step plan on Wednesday with which the people in Germany should come out of the corona shutdown step by step.

A smartphone app for “contact tracking, especially for visits to events, outdoor restaurants and the like”, as Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) said after the deliberations, should help.

A decision for a specific app that would then flank the Corona warning app has not yet been made.

Chancellor Merkel mentioned Luca as an example on Wednesday.

Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is also said to be impressed by Luca, according to the "Bild" newspaper.

The idea behind apps like Luca: It should become superfluous for people to write their name and address on a piece of paper every time they go to a restaurant or concert, which the host or organizer then has to keep for possible contact follow-up and hand over to the health department in the event of infection.

Instead, users of the app should be able to document their visit to the restaurant with little effort.

To do this, they scan a QR code at the entrance.

When you leave the restaurant or the concert location, you actively check out;

alternatively, an automatic check-out via the location function of your mobile phone is also provided.

"The federal states will decide in favor of such a system in the short term," said Angela Merkel.

"The whole thing is linked to the health authorities, so that we can enforce electronic contact tracking in the country competence across the country."

"Autobahn to the health department"

In principle, private meetings can also be documented with the Luca app, which is already being tested in some German locations.

For this purpose, QR codes can be generated in the app and linked to those of friends and family.

This makes sense especially in places where the health department has already entered into a partnership with the app makers.

The app was developed by the three Berliners Philipp Berger, Marcus Trojan and Patrick Hennig.

Your company Nexenio is a spin-off of the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam and is supported by cultural professionals such as Smudo.

According to the makers, the Luca app is not intended to replace the federal government's corona warning app, but rather to supplement it by simplifying contact tracking by the health authorities.

Markus Bublitz, who does public relations work for the Luca app, compared it on Thursday on Twitter to a “highway to the health department”.

The app makes it possible "to discover the origin of chains of infection and to inform the relevant people in a matter of minutes".

Bublitz described the Corona warning app, which, after a certain period of time, also tracks encounters outside of places such as restaurants, as "important".

In Bublitz's opinion, the Luca app should »not lead to the Corona warning app being uninstalled as a daily, individual warning radar«.

While the Corona warning app is used anonymously, you log in to the Luca app with your phone number.

The app is available for iOS, Android and as a web version and is free for users, but also for restaurant operators, for example.

According to the developer, the data is stored in encrypted form.

Unlike the Corona warning app, the Luca app is not an open source solution that allows third parties to check the technical security.

The data is encrypted

The data can not be viewed by restaurant operators or event organizers, according to the Luca makers, but by affiliated health authorities - if the users allow this.

If an infection is reported, the health department can ask users to release their data.

Based on the whereabouts of the last 14 days, the health department can then contact the event locations and also ask them to release the linked data records.

The health department can then warn all other users who were in the restaurant with the infected person.

However, the involvement of the health authorities is still at the beginning: According to the Luca developers, only 40 of around 400 health authorities in Germany are currently participating, for example in Jena, on the North Sea islands of Sylt, Amrum and Föhr and in the Salzland district in Saxony-Anhalt.

One of the reasons for this is that the authorities cannot keep up with the switch to digital interfaces such as Sormas.

Apparently, Thuringia is the first federal state to use the Luca app across the board.

According to the makers, Luca has already been tested in civil offices, at city council meetings, in old people's and nursing homes and in offices.

In restaurants, bars or concert halls, the app cannot currently be used under real conditions anyway because of the shutdown.

"That has to happen at the regional level"

Jens Spahn's Federal Ministry of Health said on Thursday that "offers for digitized contact data collection" could be "a useful addition" to the Corona warning app.

In principle, every federal state could already use the Luca app or a comparable offer.

“But the federal states must also adapt their corona protection ordinances for this, and the health authorities must integrate these systems.

That has to happen at the regional level. "

In addition, the ministry pointed out that the federal government was working on an event registration function for the Corona warning app.

This function should therefore be available "shortly after Easter" and offer users anonymity as before.

"A QR code is generated for a specific event, which everyone scans with the app," is how the ministry describes the planned approach.

»No personal data will be exchanged.

But if someone tests positive and enters that into the app, everyone is warned anonymously. "

Icon: The mirror

mbö / Reuters / AFP

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-03-04

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