Public security test and pilot phase for the SwissCovid app – first results available

4.6.2020 - The pilot phase for the SwissCovid app and the public security test were launched last week. The initial results are positive. Once Parliament has passed the required legislation, the app will be made available to everyone in Switzerland within a few weeks.

Pilot phase: Focus on functionality

In the pilot phase, which began on 25 May, various selected groups are trying out the SwissCovid app. The focus is on using the app and all its functions. The pilot aims to reveal any technical defects and issues related to usage and medical processes before the app is made available to the public. The feedback so far has not indicated any serious problems.

Pilot phase only for defined groups of persons

On 13 May, the Federal Council issued an ordinance (in German, French or Italian) that specifies the potential participant groups for the pilot trial. In order to test whether the app functions, participants must regularly come into close contact with each other. The number of institutions participating in the pilot phase for the SwissCovid app has been limited so that this general requirement can be satisfied.

Currently, app users who do not belong to any of the pilot groups have little chance of coming into contact with someone who has also installed the app. It therefore does not make any sense to allow isolated individuals to take part in the pilot phase, as they will be unable to test the app’s functional capabilities. Furthermore, their participation is contrary to the purpose of the Ordinance. We would therefore request persons who have already installed the app but who do not belong to any of the defined pilot groups to assist us by deleting the app from their phones.

Since 2 June, a preview version of the SwissCovid app has been available in the App Store (a preview was already available in the Google Play Store). This has been done to ensure that all those participating in the pilot are able to install the app. Persons who are not part of the pilot group and who duly indicate this during the installation process will obtain a version of the app with deactivated functionalities, as required by the Ordinance.

Public security test: Focus on data security

The privacy of persons using the SwissCovid app should be guaranteed as far as possible. The entire proximity tracing system should therefore meet the strictest possible security standards. With the public security test, which began on 28 May 2020, the proximity tracing system will undergo rigorous evaluation. The public security test is only one of several security measures. In contrast to the pilot phase, anyone can participate in this test.

Positive feedback so far

Reports on the public security test can be sent to the website of the National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC). The NCSC evaluates their content and passes the information on to the relevant organisations, which then fixes any bugs. All of the feedback submitted can be viewed on the NCSC website, which is updated daily. As of 5 June, 50 reports had been received. No critical or system-relevant issues have been reported so far.

The idea behind the SwissCovid app

The SwissCovid app is an aid that complements conventional contact tracing by the cantons. This has one objective: preventing any further spread of COVID-19 and most particularly a second wave of the disease. The FOPH is appealing to the public to act in the public interest by protecting themselves and other members of the public, and to act appropriately if they suspect they have been infected. In developing the SwissCovid app, we must come to terms with the conflict between introducing technology that has never been used before anywhere in the world - and doing so as quickly as possible - and complying with data protection laws. The latter is the top priority.

Last modification 04.11.2020

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