The EOSC Secretariat – an initiative that has approved €1,235,000 in emergency funding for 32 projects to specifically tackle the COVID-19 pandemic – is supporting the new app that aims to improve contact tracing while simultaneously maintaining privacy.
Concerns that digital tracing systems for COVID-19 could become ‘back doors’ to mass surveillance have already mounted, with academics from 26 countries issuing a warning that contact-tracing apps could hamper trust.
Confirming you have been infected with coronavirus requires personal data to be submitted, recorded, exchanged and stored, with some apps like the UK Government’s NHSX indicating that it may be stored and used for future research purposes.
However, a small research team has developed a contact-tracing app in the space of a few months, with backing provided as part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The EU initiative aims to change the way research is conducted through ‘Open Science’ where researchers are busy developing instant diagnoses for major diseases and tackling climate change.
Developed by Limerick brothers Paul and Patrick Byrnes, the app invites users to participate via an ‘opt-in’ facility, which can be removed or deleted at any time, and is available to download on iOS, Android and Apple.