ETSI announces tracing app standardisation group

5/18/2020

ETSI has established a new industry specification group to help app developers build mobile solutions for anonymous proximity detection during COVID-19.

The ‘Europe for Privacy-Preserving Pandemic Protection’ group will provide a standardisation framework, with the aim of facilitating interoperability between products. 

It is anticipated that the solutions in question will “automatically trace and inform potentially infected users in addition to manual notification methods, whilst preserving users’ privacy and complying with relevant data protection regulation.”

Speaking of the challenges presented by the Coronavirus, a spokesperson for ETSI said: “The most effective strategy for curbing the spread of COVID-19 is to break transmission chains by informing people when they have been in close contact with other individuals who have tested positive for the virus.

“A primary challenge is collecting, processing and acting on information about citizens’ proximity at scale, potentially representing tens or hundreds of millions of people. This must also be achieved without compromising users’ anonymity and privacy, and while safeguarding them against exposure to potential cyber-attacks.”

ETSI director-general Luis Jorge Romero said: “By their nature, smartphones are highly personal devices, carrying large amounts of data about individuals. In ETSI we are committed to supporting an international development community with a robust standardisation framework that allows rapid, accurate and reliable solutions while winning the trust of the population at large.”

According to the organisation, the new group already consists of more than ten organisations, including global telco operators, vendors and research centres.

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