Orange takes part in contact tracing app to fight COVID-19 in France
French telecommunications group Orange announced it has joined a French government-backed research and development project bringing together national players to set up a contact tracing application, as part of the country’s fight against the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
In a statement, the French carrier said it will team with eight public and private companies, including Nokia’s former health division Withings, to create the government’s “StopCovid” project and to develop and deliver the application.
Other companies participating in the project are Inria, ANSSI, Capgemini, Dassault Systèmes, Inserm and Lunabee Studio.
Each of the participating companies will be tasked with providing support based on their field of expertise. Under this project, Orange will be responsible for application distribution and interoperability.
Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO at Orange, said the app was designed to break “the chain of contamination as restrictions are lifted.”
According to the company, Orange will “contribute its know-how in the security of networks and digital systems, its expertise in the mobile telecommunications ecosystem as well as its close relationship with healthcare institutions in order to help reach these ambitious targets.”
The aim of this project is to provide the French health authorities with a complementary digital tool to help manage the sanitary emergency against Covid-19.
The French government has entrusted Inria with the operational management of the research and development of the project.
The project is based on five foundations:
-The use of the StopCovid app as part of the global strategy for managing the health crisis and epidemiological monitoring. StopCovid project is an additional brick that provides public health actors with a decision-making support for the deconfinement phase.
-Strict compliance with the data protection and privacy framework at national and European level, as defined in particular by French law and the RGPD, as well as the toolbox recently defined by the European Commission on proximity monitoring applications.
-Transparency, which notably involves the dissemination, under an open source license, of the specific work carried out within the framework of the project. This is in order to provide all the guarantees in terms of controls by society: transparency of algorithms, open code, interoperability, auditability, security and reversibility of the solutions. Thus, this solution could offer basic building blocks that can be used by all countries that wish to use them.
-Respect for the principles of digital sovereignty of the public health system: control of health choices by French and European society, protection and structuring of health data assets to guide the response to the epidemic and accelerate medical research.
-The temporary nature of the project, whose lifespan will correspond, if deployed, to the duration of the management of the COVID-19 epidemic.
At European level, the project is also being carried out in close cooperation with national teams developing comparable applications in Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Norway, based on comparable approaches and ensuring interoperability.