Covid 19 – Federal government due to problems with warning app under pressure – politics


After the technical problems with the Corona warning app on Android and iOS smartphones, criticism of the federal government is growing louder. The German Patient Protection Foundation called for information from Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) on Saturday. The app is an important building block to keep the corona virus in check, said board member Eugen Brysch. “Now the contact check on more and more smartphones should only work incompletely. This worries the more than 15 million users.” The deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, Michael Theurer, also fears that the necessary trust in the app could be damaged. He demanded: “After this breakdown series, the federal government must ensure transparency and provide app users, the public and Parliament with prompt and comprehensive information.”

The Federal Ministry of Health has since confirmed that, like with Android devices, there are also problems with iPhones with the iOS system. The Apple devices “apparently had operating system restrictions of the background update”. The Corona warning app always reliably exchanges anonymous codes. You also compare the codes with the server – but not always if they only run in the background. “If the app is opened, it will carry out the server comparison in any case. So the app also worked on iOS devices all this time,” said a statement by the ministry.

The developers are therefore working flat out to work around the system-related restrictions until Apple has solved the system problem itself. Previously, the ARD portal reported that users of iPhones were sometimes not informed via the app for weeks whether they had contact with infected people or not. Similar problems were already known from devices with the Android system.

The Corona warning app should continue to run in the background and update data even when it is not open. If there was an encounter with a person who later tested positive for the corona virus, the cell phone should actually actively inform the owner of the increased risk with a notification. “The problem we have is that the background update does not appear to be called by the operating system,” said the software architect of the app at SAP, Thomas Klingbeil, about the problems with the iOS operating system.

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The FDP politician Theurer advocated a communication campaign to regain trust and convince people of the usefulness of the app to fight the virus. In addition, the government must ensure that the technical problems are quickly resolved on all devices and operating systems. “Finally, I urge the federal government to develop solutions for older smartphones and for the networked application of the app across Europe,” said Theurer.

The Corona warning app is intended to help track and interrupt infection chains. It can also help people to get their test results digitally as quickly as possible after a corona virus test and can anonymously warn potential contact persons via the app if they have installed the app. The app has now been downloaded 16.2 million times.


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