Scan a barcode with your phone to fight Kovid: China has launched a digital “health passport”, a year after WHO called the Kovid-19 pandemic a “pandemic” to boost international travel have hope.
The first country to be killed by coronaviruses and to limit its population, China was one of the first to generalize the use of QR codes to control movement, identify contact cases, and isolate patients.
This is a ritual that is difficult to overcome in China: scanning the barcode with your phone and with an app that gives “green” passes, synonymous with good health.
This process is necessary to take a plane, train or taxi along the entrance to a building, business or park.
The phone decrypts a bar code, usually composed of a mosaic with black squares (a “QR code” for quick response code) on a white background. A gesture that allows you to leave a digital trace of a route in a specific location at a certain time.
If a person is ill, contact cases can be quickly identified: In China, anti-Kovid tracking apps are directly associated with an identification number.
On the phone, a colored “health code” appears: green (no problem), yellow (liability for quarantine at home) or red (quarantine in the space provided for this purpose).
In China, there is not an anti-Kovid app but a coexistence. And depending on the city and region, they do not collect the same information.
The government-designed app is based on geolocation data provided by operators and monitors visits for the past 14 days. This makes it possible to know if a person has visited a risky area or crossed paths with a patient with Kovid-19.
Other applications use various sources such as reservation for train or plane tickets.
Tracking app is not mandatory. But in fact, it is not impossible for a person to enter or move in a public place.
Last spring, the press reported the case of a criminal for 24 years who surrendered to authorities: walking around, entering a store and even without a smartphone or a tracking app It was impossible for him. To be hired on construction sites.
In China, (rare) people who do not have telephones or toddlers are given a QR code to walk around their necks. During an investigation, officers only have to scan to ensure that no person comes from the so-called at-risk area.
On the front line on the face of coronovirus at the end of 2019, China is one of the few countries today to return to an almost normal rhythm of life, thanks to extensive wear of masks and also to large-scale screening tests.
“This is the set that creates efficiency, not application alone”, explained AFP Jean-Dominique Seval, a specialist in the Chinese digital economy and director of Sun Consulting. The app has a history of screening and vaccination tests. And the metadata makes it possible to identify and differentiate patients, which “reassures everyone a little bit”, Seval believes.
With its experience of managing the epidemic, Beijing is pushing for the adoption of a universal health code globally. And China on Monday launched a “health passport” to allow foreign travel to begin.
But “implementation can be lengthy and complicated” because agreements between countries will be necessary in advance, warned Seval. Health passports are designed to display and authenticate passenger health data, such as their Kovid test (PCR and antibodies) or their vaccination status. The initiative was proposed in November at the G20 summit by President Xi Jinping.
The vast majority of sugar lends itself to the game of tracing easily. QR codes were widely used before the epidemic to pay with their phones in China, where cash has almost disappeared. However, the question of personal data also arises in China, notes Seval.
“We can’t say it’s completely + Big Brother +” but we can’t do everything and nothing with it, “it’s between the two”, he believes.
QR codes, however, are the “ideal means of attack for cybercriminals”, warns cyber security expert Roman Zaikin of the specialist firm Checkpoint. Because “a malicious QR code [faux code, NDLR] It is undesirable for the naked eye ”. Once scanned, it is already too late, warns Zaikin.
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