One month corona warning app: so far, the effect remains

One month Corona warning app: So far, the effect remains

Just over a month, the federal government introduced the corona warn app, which in this country is the outbreak of the virus sars-cov-2 in this country. The app has since been installed at just under 16 million.

Whether the app works as it should, is still unclear. Notes on a significant influence of the app on the course of the sars cov-2 epidemic in germany does not exist in any case. Nevertheless, politicians and the app robert koch institut (rki) of the confederation are satisfied.

A "successful start"

The rki celebrates one "successful start, which for a rough interest and acceptance in the population" speak. And even the developers of the app showed themselves against the day’s show satisfied: "we were the most successful launch in the german app store, which has ever given it." despite this first triumph spreading the app is still far from where they had to tangible achievements to show his, when pandemiebekampfung.

Why is that? First, the rki not female, how many of the 16 million devices that have downloaded the app, it is already installed or not actively in use. And secondly must itself loudly conservative estimates of epidemiology experts, at least 42 million people in germany, the app constantly in use have, so that they can effectively take effect. Of this we are currently far.

Despite annoying error messages, the app works

The corona-warning app itself developed by sap and deutsche telekom in an unprecedented open source project so far seems rather to work well. Even if some users are unsettled by various error messages, the app (or the contact tracing interface of apple and google in the operating system itself) seems to perform in most cases in the background brav your services.

Errors that complete the contact tracing via bluetooth complete can be found above all under ios. Currently, for example, some users seem that their device on the latest version 13.6 have updated the operating system to no longer use the contact tracing interface (and thus the corona warning app).

How many users were warned in the first month prior to potentially infectious contacts, can not be said due to the decentralized nature of the protocol. It is secured that the display works such warnings and that so far at least 513 teletans were assigned by the state-of-the-state hotline. Which means that at least 513 people against the app had a positive infection had to report. How many that have done exactly is not known because it is a voluntary decision of each user. Observers of the diagnostic key on the servers of the app and the data of the rki ame that between 4 and 6 percent of the persons tested as positive tested persons who have been informed of the app.

Criticism of the reporting process

Currently, there is currently less on the app itself than at the infrastructure round. Linus neumann from the chaos computer club criticizes here above all that not enough test laboratories and health markets in germany are digitally integrated into the reporting process. Many positive tested were still informed by post and then had to get a tan for the app for the app for the app. The musse digital in the app, a speed of this process is an important function of the corona warning app. The app is currently "to modern for germany", so the conclusion of the ccc speaker. That’s after a month "catastrophic" and you have to improve here as soon as possible, says neumann.

The problem, which is outlined by neumann, is as follows: if it takes one or two days by the postal reporting process until an app user is informed that he is infected, not only later in quarantae, but the app users who had contact with him will also be warned about these one or two days warned. During this time, they could then have contact with other people and possibly infect them. The app should also reduce such times, in which people who keep themselves healthy, reduce others. But the whole digital agilitat uses nothing, if still for the process necessarily useable information on the slow postal route.

How good is the bluetooth removal residue really?

The technical substructure of the corona warning app leads to further omissions. This is not about the code developed by sap and the telekom or the fine adjustment with which the rki specifies the infectosity of an app user, but about the contact tracing interface of apple and google itself. This software component anchored in the respective smartphone operating system can be sagged by the spacer via bluetooth and distributes the conclusions that record the smartphones each other. Replacing the key seems to work easily, but the distancemen is still asking questions using bluetooth low energy (ble).

Although representatives of research institutions supporting the state in the development and testing of the corona warning app (for example at the fraunhofer institute for integrated circuits iis) from up to 80 percent accuracy of bluetooth quantities, speak sampling experiments of independent researchers in germany and abroad partly a significantly different language.

Among other things, this may be that institutes like the fraunhofer iis have measured under laboratory conditions. At the test in our own home, then it is sometimes showing that depending on the position of both smartphones that exchange contact tracing keys, sometimes appear more than ten times, as they are actually – depending on which materials or borpers are between the two smartphones and how they swallow the radio waves. Reflections, on the other hand, can, above all outdoors, apparently drove that gates that should actually be outside the reception range, suddenly appeared very close.

Apple and google in the bringing debt

Above all, these factors play a role when only a few data is collected. Some scientific publications on this topic therefore recommend to raise a lot of quantities through and resilient averages. However, the api of apple and google had to be customized to spark a lot more often than that’s the current case. Which would also consume more power.

Neither apple still google has answered technical requests for your contact tracing interface in detail. However, it is probably working on improvements in the api for coming android and ios versions. Who wife, maybe the developers also screw the bluetooth removal residue.

For the open source developers of the german corona warn app, the question is whether the ble removal residue can provide superhautical data, at least "out of scope" – that’s however, any problems of the operating system interface are not considered as part of their development request. Accordingly, such bug reports are also closed quite quickly.

Conclusion after a month corona warning app

If you look at the data of the robert koch institute for the current infection numbers in germany, then the app has evidently not had an effect. Despite the proclaimed success of the rki, the developer and health minister spahn, much more potential users have to be recovered to install the app and really actively use.

And also the weak points infrastructure in the infrastructure in the laboratories and health stores infrastructed by the chaos computer club. The best app uses a little when there is a question mark overall. Maybe we have too few sars-cov-2 cases right now in germany, as that the app could develop a noticeable influence. But that’s more of a good thing – but should, as well as a green-luminous corona-warn app, went to take the risk of infection on the light shoulder.