NEWS16 June 2020

Norway suspends contact tracing app

Covid-19 Europe Healthcare News Privacy

NORWAY – The Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH) has suspended the country’s Covid-19 contact tracing app following a temporary ban from the Norwegian data protection authority.

Contact tracing covid tracking_crop

Datatilsynet, the Norwegian DPA, issued a temporary ban on processing personal data collected by the Smittestopp (‘Infection Stop’) app, citing concerns over user privacy.

The authority said the app interfered disproportionately with privacy because of the current restricted transmission rate in Norway.

The app has been tested in three municipalities and has 600,000 active users. A low number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has made it difficult to test whether it alerts users who may have been exposed to infection, the NIPH said.

The NIPH said it would delete all data collected by the app and cease further collection but said it did not agree with the data protection authority’s decision.

Professor Camilla Stoltenberg, director-general at the NIPH, said: “This will result in poorer preparedness as we lose time in development and testing of the app and will also lead to poorer control over transmission in Norway.”