At the end of June in La Gomera, the Government of the Canary Islands will pilot a track and trace COVID-19 app in collaboration with the Canary Islands Health Service, Spain’s Ministry of Health, Spain’s Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence, and the European Directorate-General for Innovation and Technological Support (ITEC).
The aim of the pilot is to gather real world data on this track and trace app. The results will be used by the Spanish government and the autonomous communities as they assess the feasibility of a nationwide technological system to reduce COVID-19 infections.
La Gomera has been chosen for the pilot because of its geography as part of the Canary Islands archipelago and its popularity with tourists. Also, the island has been noted for the close collaboration achieved between citizens and authorities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, La Gomeran authorities have indicated that there is widespread enthusiasm amongst residents to participate in the scheme which is vital as pilot results will only be reliable if the track and trace app is widely used.
As it is rolled out to the open population the track and trace app uses a highly regarded decentralised model based on the Decentralised Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP-3T) protocol which maintains user privacy. Under a centralised model, when somebody inputs a positive case of COVID-19 the data is uploaded to a remote server where matches are made with other contacts. In contrast, this decentralised model gives users more control of their information by carrying out the track and trace procedure from within the phone itself.
Those individuals who have been in close contact with somebody infected with Covid-19 will receive an alert on their phone with information about how they should proceed. This information however will not be passed on to the health authorities who will only be able to gather data of infected individuals.
The track and trace app complies with the guidelines of the European Commission with regard to the encryption of personal data. As a decentralised track and trace system, the app is the most suitable way to continue to adhere to the principle of data minimisation contained in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The app is designed in conformity with the guidelines (04/2020) provided by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) in relation to contact tracking tools. These guidelines outline the specific provisions within the European framework for the use of personal data to help combat Covid-19.
The EDPB considers that the installation of a track and trace app must be on voluntary basis, and short-range technologies must be used in place of geolocation data.
The EDPB asserts as well that the decentralised model of track and trace adheres better than any other to the principle of data minimisation as laid out in the GDPR.
For more information on the Canary Islands please contact Niamh Waters firstname.lastname@example.org