The Covid Monitoring Application Committee has only met twice

A governance committee for the HSE-sponsored Covid Tracker app in Ireland has only met twice this year – and concluded that there may be issues with the effectiveness of the app.

The Covid Tracker app advisory committee met virtually on July 12, 2021 and concluded that due to Covid’s public health restrictions, many people “had not had the opportunity to get in touch with other users, which would have an impact on the effectiveness of the application, ”according to the minutes of the meeting.

The meeting heard that the Department of Health and HSE had agreed on a full review of the app to be discussed at the next committee meeting, which has yet to take place.

The governance committee was set up when the application was created in order, among other things, to “take into consideration” concerns and guidelines in terms of data protection.

However, there are no privacy, data protection or civil liberties experts or advocates among the members of the committee, which is mainly made up of officials from the Department of Health and HSE, and representatives of other organizations, including the charity Bodywhys and Age Action.

Jacinta Hastings, Managing Director of Bodywhys, told the Irish Examinerhis organization had been included after expressing interest in being part of the committee due to the impact of Covid on people with eating disorders.

It emerged in October that the app, which is designed to serve as a digital contact tracing service for confirmed cases of Covid using Bluetooth ‘handshakes’ between smartphones, is currently only reporting 6% of cases. virus positive.

One of the functions of the advisory committee is to oversee the closure of the application within 90 days “if the application is found to be ineffective as part of its effectiveness monitoring process.”

Such a stipulation was included in the mandate of the committee at the foot of the data protection concerns expressed at the level of the application during its development.

The HSE had not responded to a request for comment on what dictated the composition of the committee at the time of publication.

The July meeting also discussed the then-pending inclusion of someone’s Covid vaccine certificate on the tracking app, and agreed that doing the same “has the potential to increase adoption of the download of the application “.

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