In considering methods to relax the COVID-19 lockdown measures and revive the economy, while at the same time containing the spread of the virus, the EU and national EU governments have been actively pursuing the development and use of contact tracing apps.

To be effective, any contact tracing app would require the majority of the population to use it. Of course, there are reservations about the overall benefit of such an app as a means of responding to the COVID-19 crisis (among others because it may lead to false positives or negatives, the technology may be unable to distinguish between people in crowded places, as well as because of the possible abuse of the data).

The EU Commission, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Data Protection Board have issued guidance on the use of such apps. In parallel, EU Member States and the UK have started devising measures at the national level to further the development and adoption of contact tracing apps.

The EU’s guidance as well as a discussion of current developments in the EU Member States and the UK is available here.