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STAYAWAY COVID app advances this week with pilot for thousands of people

It was scheduled for late May, then June, but the application that aims to help break contention chains for COVID-19 is only expected to advance in July, or even August. The news was advanced by Jornal de Notcias, with statements by Rui Oliveira, from INESC TEC, who is leading the consortium that is developing the STAYAWAY COVID app. "It will not be for technical reasons that the app will not be ready yet in July. Then it will be in the hands of the minister," said Rui Oliveira.

After several tests that have been carried out, and of which SAPO TEK has been reporting, this week, the extended pilot project starts with "a few thousand participants", all volunteers, writes the same source. Despite using the Apple and Google API, which was created specifically to help countries control COVID-19, for the time being the application is only available for Android smartphones, as Apple has not yet given permission for publication on the App Store for iOS systems.

The pilot should not take much more than a week, as Rui Oliveira estimates. "We will correct problems as they arise, but I am confident in this version," he told the newspaper, saying that it has already been tested "enough times" to ensure that it works as desired.

According to the head of INESC TEC, the pilot will serve mainly to understand how the application works when it is used in a generalized way.

Missing authorizations

For launching the app, there is no lack of technical adjustments. CNPD has assessed the data protection impact assessment report and says that there are still elements that I need more detail. But there are even more steps to guarantee before launching the app, which should be the "official" contact tracking application in Portugal.

According to the same source, it remains, for example, to create legislation without which the National Data Protection Commission will not give the green light to implementation. It is also necessary that the server that will be installed in the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health be integrated with the authentication system used by doctors, in order to ensure that the information is under reservation. A second server is already installed at the National Press Casa da Moeda.

Remember that integration with the validation of medical personnel is important to ensure that the cases identified as positive COVID-19 are real and not false positives.

Integration, scalability, availability and security tests are still lacking, as well as the interoperability between STAYAWAY and the eHealth Network, shared by European countries.

Only after all these steps have been completed can the official launch of the application be scheduled.