App in the midlife crisis age – digital

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There has been a lot of mockery about the green warning messages of the Corona app. What should one do with the “low risk” message? Get tested, just to be on the safe side? The reports came too often for that. Do nothing at all? Then why the message? But now there has been a strange silence in the app for a few weeks. The green messages have disappeared. Because of an update that users were not informed about – which is why many wonder whether the app is still working.

So you can only give the all-clear in parts. No, the Corona warning app is not dead, it is just evolving. However, this development is quite a botch.

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The app has now reached its prime midlife crisis age. Her youth were radiant: when the federal government presented her in the spring, she breathed a start-up spirit. Then not much happened. The weather was fine, the number of infections low. Only now and then did a green message pass, like a ghost from another horrific reality. Today this reality is everyday life. But the app is still essentially the same as it was in the spring.

People could be reached directly with information via the app

It could long ago show up-to-date information on the course of the pandemic and official regulations. For example, if the test result is positive, it could enable users to record their symptoms and provide them with information on how to now behave. Doctors report that many patients are still poorly aware of the pandemic. Regulations are constantly changing. It’s easy to lose track. The app could be an information center. Then people would open and use them more often. That would be good news for the health authorities.

Instead, since the update, many people have been wondering whether they should uninstall the app, whether something else is going on. Didn’t anyone at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), where project management takes place, really think about the fact that the suddenly strangely silent app could irritate people? What does the responsible team spend their days, weeks and months with? It may have something to do with the fact that the RKI applied for 68 new IT positions, but the Bundestag only approved four. There may be a lack of pressure from the federal government. Instead, there is an absurd sham debate. The overly strict data protection must go, it is said above all from the Union. The app is not reaching its full potential.

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Much can be improved in the application

What if such voices prevail? Will a light soon come on at the health department if I go out with the dog after 9 p.m.? Someone recently shared a chat history with their mother on Twitter. She had sent him an online article with the title “Merz wants to locate users of the Corona warning app”. “I’ve now deleted the app,” she writes.

The woman can be reassured. You cannot simply extend “data protection” from the app. The app would have to be fundamentally redesigned if one wanted to store the data centrally at an authority. Technically, that would be complete nonsense. The fact that the cell phones directly exchange anonymized data with one another and issue warnings without unnecessary detours via an authority has clearly established itself internationally as the best solution. Much could be improved on the app. Wanting to tear down data protection as an alleged hurdle, on the other hand, is only populist.

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