According to the Reuters reported on Sunday from a joint statement by Jens Spahn, health minister, and Helge Braun, chancellery minister – Germany has now U-turned on making a centralized contact tracing app for COVID-19 and will adopt a decentralized architecture as well.
In recent weeks, a battle has roared in Europe that is between various groups backing centralized and decentralized infrastructure for apps, which can be fast-tracked by the governments. The apps will use smartphone proximity based on the Bluetooth as a proxy for detecting the infection risk in order to support the public health to answer to the virus by automating a few contacts tracing.
Centralized approaches have been proposed in the area, which would see the pseudonymized proximity data accumulated and processed on a server that would be controlled by the national authority like healthcare service. But concerns have now been raised about letting the authorities pick up the social graph of the citizens with proper privacy.
On the other hand, decentralized contacts tracing infrastructure indicates that the ephemeral IDs will be stored on the device locally and will be uploaded from the user’s permission when he/she is infected by COVID-19. A transmitted server is utilized to announce the infected IDs by activating devices locally.
The change of the track by the German government highlights a major blow, which is called PEPP-PT, and it had been backing centralization aggressively while demanding to “preserve privacy” for not tracking the location data. It quickly crawled to propose a complete centralized architecture for tracking the COVID-19 contacts, guided by the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany.