A group of European countries, including Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, are testing technology that would enable their national Covid-19 tracing apps to work seamlessly across borders, an effort that could boost travel in the continent.
In a statement Monday, the European Commission said the so-called interoperability gateway service will allow for the backend servers of various national virus contact-tracing apps to share information. That means users will only need to install a single app but will still be able to report a positive infection test or receive an alert if they travel abroad.
Following the pilot test, the technology is due to be operational in October and will work for almost all apps in Europe with some exceptions like France’s, whose underlying infrastructure is incompatible. The move comes as flare-up in coronavirus infections threatens to disrupt European economies again after a brief summer respite.
The information exchanged between the servers is pseudonymised, encrypted, and only stored as long as it is necessary to trace back infections, the EU said, adding it would not allow for individuals to be identified.
The gateway service, established by the commission, is based on technical specifications agreed by the bloc’s member states. SAP SE and Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Systems have developed the main gateway server that will be run from the commission’s data center in Luxembourg, the EU said.
Denmark, Ireland and Latvia are also participating in the trial.
— With assistance by Helene Fouquet