Contract in Brandenburg is to expire: No more Luca app – and then?

Contract in Brandenburg should expire

No more Luca app – and then?

Fri 01/14/22 | 9:22 p.m. | from Leonie Schwarzer

Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/pa

Audio: Inforadio | 01/14/2022 | Leonie Schwarzer | Image: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/pa

The Brandenburg Minister of Health Ursula Nonnemacher recommends not extending the contract for the Luca app. And this is also being discussed in Berlin. But what happens when we no longer have the Luca app? By Leonie Schwarzer

criticism from privacy advocates

The app has been criticized by some privacy advocates since the beginning. For example, it is criticized that all user data is stored on a central server. This means that the app works differently than the Corona warning app, which only remembers user data decentrally.

The data protection discussion was recently fueled by a case in Mainz: Here the police used data from the Luca app to clarify a death. The authorities have now admitted that this procedure was illegal. However, the makers of the Luca app also criticized the behavior of the police.

Use of the app questionable

Of course, whether the app will continue to be used also depends on its usefulness. The health authorities are central here: In contrast to the Corona warning app, the Luca app is directly connected to them. If a health authority finds out about a corona infection, they can request the contact details of all guests present from the organizer or restaurant.

The health department can then use this data to notify the contact persons directly. But is that used? A request from two health authorities in Berlin shows: “We have had the Luca app for almost a year and it has not been used until now,” says Detlef Wagner, the responsible city councilor in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, which would mean that the Luca app would be lost to cope with.

Patrick Larscheid, medical officer in Reinickendorf, comes to a similar conclusion: The Luca app was not used for contact tracing here either. In general, restaurants would not play a role in the infection process, according to Larscheid. And in Brandenburg, too, the health authorities seem to only use the Luca app very little: According to a survey from last year, only one of the 18 health authorities would use the app regularly, said the Brandenburg Minister of Health, Nonnemacher, on Friday after a cabinet meeting.

Corona warning app as an alternative?

There are problems with data protection and the cost-benefit question: more and more federal states are planning to let the contract with the Luca app expire in March. Marie Schäffer, Greens member of the Brandenburg state parliament, is also against extending the contract.

On the other hand, she advises the Corona warning app – it fulfills the purpose much better, since the health authorities would be less burdened with it. In many restaurants, guests can now log in with the Corona warning app. With the Corona-Warn-App, warnings can be given directly between individuals, says Schäffer, “that’s much faster and is much more appropriate in the current situation.”

Berlin Corona Ordinance needs update

In contrast to the Luca app, the Corona warning app works completely anonymously. It uses Bluetooth to measure the distance between people and the meeting time. However, it cannot be used to record contact data. In Berlin, the Corona regulation currently requires that restaurants and canteens document the presence of their guests. To do this, they also have to write down the names and addresses of their guests – and that is currently only possible with pen and paper or the Luca app.

Mountains of paper threaten

The Berlin data protection officer has been calling for legal clarification for a long time: “Since the Corona-Warn-App does not record the data required by the regulation, organizers in Berlin have not yet been able to fulfill their legal obligations with their use alone,” said one in November published press release. The use of the Corona warning app must be legally anchored as an alternative. This has already happened in Brandenburg: Here the regulation states that contact tracing can also be carried out using the Corona-Warn-App.

So if Berlin lets the Luca app expire and doesn’t change the regulation at the same time – restaurateurs may soon have to deal with mountains of paper again.

Broadcast: Inforadio, January 14, 2022, 4:40 p.m

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