The CoronaMelder corona app has now been downloaded more than 2.6 million times, Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health) announced on Monday via Twitter known. Small nuance: that does not necessarily mean that just as many Dutch people use the app, those involved explain.
Corona app in use nationwide since October 10
Using CoronaMelder, smartphones can exchange signals with smartphones of other app users. Those contacts are recorded in unique, anonymous codes. This creates a log of people who have been around each other. If someone later turns out to be infected, they can, together with the GGD, warn the contacts of the past days.
“We just cannot see how many people are actively using the app,” explains Ivo Jansch. He was one of the people brought in by the Ministry of Health to build CoronaMelder.
In the settings of the phone, people also have to give their consent to share data with CoronaMelder. For example, people can install the app, but not grant permission, or revoke it (temporarily) so that CoronaMelder is not active. “But if people deactivate something, we can’t see it,” says Brenno de Winter, who was also involved in the development of the corona app.
Since the nationwide introduction of the app last Saturday, the ministry has seen an “insane increase” in traffic with the servers, says De Winter. However, this contact cannot be used to find out exactly how many active users CoronaMelder has.
“That’s because we separate the IP address (a unique number that is associated with the phone, ed.) From the rest of the info. We are blinded by privacy,” says Jansch, referring to the choice to use the app as little possibly have data collected.
Privacy was an important condition for the ministry to introduce the app. Since the use of CoronaMelder must be voluntary, any traceability to a person could put this principle under pressure.
The team behind CoronaMelder wants to use questionnaires to find out how many people actually use the app.