Should Your Company Install the COVID-19 Tracing App?
We have received many questions on how these apps will work. We hope that the following article will help to answer those questions.
With contact tracing finally taking hold, we are finally moving in the right direction in terms of reliable tracing app solutions for COVID-19. It is hoped that our tracing systems will soon line up with the efforts of countries such as South Korea, who are leading the way in successfully tracing the virus. Many governments around the world are working on different tracing apps. Some are going with a decentralised approach, whereas others are building apps that will not disclose any personal information.
Our Initial Reaction…
When we first heard about efforts to release a tracing app, we almost jumped the gun. Our IT management solution provides an ability to deploy apps to all devices to our clients at the click of a button. This is known, in the industry, as mobile device management. It is extremely useful for updating apps, applying patches and general management of smartphones, but was not built for such a unique brief.
The Risks of Tracing Apps…
We started to think about the implications of deploying tracing apps and decided to let our clients about know the potential risks.
First of all, you, as the employer, are opening yourself up to a world of privacy issues if you install the app on work devices. The data being collected around COVID-19 is personal. As such, even though tracking is taking place on a company device, it may be a breach of privacy without consent.
Many of the apps around the world don’t track any personal information; however, there are a few countries that will have a centralised database that holds information on who you interact with and come into contact with.
Second, having the app on both a work device and the personal device will likely reduce the capability and accuracy of the app. If your workforce carries both personal devices and work devices, this data may not be as useful as work devices are not always carried by employees over weekends and breaks.
The Apple/Google Tracking App…
Apple and Google have collaborated on this. They will ask you to opt into a system that causes your phone to emit Bluetooth signals to other phones around you. When you are in close proximity to another person for an extended period of time – more than five minutes, typically – both of your phones will record the interaction.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19, they will have the option of anonymously notifying other phones that they may have been exposed to the virus and encouraging their contacts to self-quarantine or seek treatment.
If you would like further information on how the tracing apps are likely to work and on how your workforce might safely install the apps on their own devices, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for some expert support.