In the absence of mass tests, which have been revealed as one of the most effective measures to reduce cases of infection with Covid-19 coronavirus, one of the most accessible “vaccines” that have been launched in some countries has been self-assessment applications. . Digital services that include the possibility of manifesting if a person has symptoms and that adjusts the information through the geolocation system of smart mobile phones. After launching similar initiatives in Madrid or Barcelona, the Government has launched its self-diagnostic application, Asistencia Covid19, in five autonomous communities in addition to Madrid.
As confirmed by the Executive in a statement, this tool is available from Monday in Asturias, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura, which are added to Madrid, where it began on March 18. The service, available for different mobile platforms (iOS and Android), promises to “help decongest healthcare phones” by offering official information on the disease that has caused more than thirteen thousand deaths in Spain, one of the most affected countries in the world .
The objective of this application, which has been launched by the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation led by Nadia Calviño, is “to decongest the health care telephones of the different autonomous communities” . To do this, the «app» requires access to the geolocation system of «smartphones» to check the user’s real location in order to offer the information adjusted to their community. A decision that has caused concern about the possible implications on the privacy of citizens.
In this sense, the application requires the request for a series of identification and health data related to the symptoms experienced. The most controversial aspect is that, through the GPS geolocation system of the mobile phone and “with the user’s permission», says the Government, the autonomous community in which it is located will be validated to personalize the responses based on the protocols of each one of them.
«All the data that the application collects are necessary to be able to advise each person. In no case are they used to check compliance with containment measures. Only health professionals and authorized competent authorities will be allowed access to the data, ”they assure from the Government. In turn, they insist, personal data will be kept for the duration of the health crisis and, once completed, will be “added anonymously” to be processed for statistical, research or public policy purposes, for a period maximum of two years.
Consulted by this newspaper, Jorge J. Ramos, an expert in development and mobility, has welcomed the initiative, although he believes that a more ambitious proposal should have been made. “Think of an anthill: you can take a large-scale photo and know more or less what is there, but if you want to know how those ants move in general terms, you need consented positioning in real time that is very easy to implement technically”, sustains. In that sense, he believes that “if we had these data, we could exploit them and manage resources more efficiently in a possible second wave, always anonymous data and with the collaboration of the entire population.”
This tool allows self-diagnostics, access recommendations and updated information, as well as receiving reminders to periodically monitor health status. The Government specifies that “in no case does it constitute a service for medical diagnosis, emergency care or the prescription of pharmacological treatments.” .