French virus tracing app flops with only 14 alerts

France’s much-heralded new phone app for tracking coronavirus cases has only alerted 14 people that they were at risk of infection since its launch three weeks ago, the digital affairs minister says.

The StopCovid app keeps track of users who have been in close proximity of one another over a two-week period. If any become infected, they inform the platform, which alerts the others.

French officials defended the app as a vital tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19, although critics expressed data privacy concerns.

Since its launch, 68 people informed the platform they had been infected and only 14 users were alerted that they were now at risk because of their contacts with these people, digital affairs minister Cedric O says at a press conference.

The minister nevertheless defends the usefulness of the app, arguing that the numbers reflect a decrease in the virus’ prevalence.

But he admits the number of downloads in France pales in comparison with Germany, where 10 million people downloaded the app versus just nearly 2 million in France.


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