#Coronavirus – Member states agree on an interoperability solution for mobile tracing and warning apps

Member states, with the support of the Commission, have agreed on a set of technical specifications to ensure a safe exchange of information between national contact tracing apps based on a decentralised architecture. This concerns the vast majority of tracing apps that were already – or are about to be – launched in the EU.

Once the technical solution is deployed, such national apps will work seamlessly when users travel to another EU country which also follows the decentralised approach. Welcoming the agreement, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “As we approach the travel season, it is important to ensure that Europeans can use the app from their own country wherever they are travelling in the EU. Contact tracing apps can be useful to limit the spread of coronavirus, especially as part of national strategies to lift confinement measures.”

Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides added: “Digital technologies are crucial to alert our citizens about infection risks and break transmission chains as we reopen our societies and economies. I call on our citizens to use them, as these technologies can only be effective if we have a critical mass of users, with interoperability of the applications across EU borders. Data security, fundamental rights and privacy protection in these digital tools will be non-negotiable.”

The proximity information shared between apps will be exchanged in an encrypted way that prevents the identification of an individual person, in line with the strict EU guidelines on data protection for apps; no geolocation data will be used. To support further streamlining of the system, the Commission will set up a gateway service, an interface to efficiently receive and pass on relevant information from national contact tracing apps and servers. The Commission also continues to support the work of member states on extending interoperability also to centralized tracing apps.

You will find the press release and a Q&A on the topic online.

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