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Summary of comments: mobile application would help tracing transmission chains

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 14.5.2020 10.48
Press release 115/2020

It is considered justified to develop a mobile application for supporting the tracing of transmission chains of the coronavirus. This becomes evident from the comments that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health invited on its proposal for a roadmap for the introduction of a mobile application.

On 22 April 2020, Prime Minister Marin’s Government decided to continue with preparations to introduce a mobile application. A precondition is that the application must be voluntary and use technology that ensures privacy protection.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s proposal for a roadmap for the introduction of a mobile application to support the tracing of coronavirus infections in Finland was circulated for comments from 28 April to 5 May 2020. A total of 68 comments were received. Two out of three of those who commented considered the proposal appropriate or mainly appropriate.

On the whole, the application was seen to help the tracing of infections. However, some comments called for impact assessment and evidence of how the application would benefit healthcare services and the health and welfare of people.

According to the comments, the proposal has, for the most part, taken account of the issues relating to personal data and privacy protection.  The legislative amendments specified in the proposal were mainly considered sufficient. Legislative needs will be specified as the preparations proceed.

Some comments raised concern over whether people approve the use of the application for tracing close contacts and those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

There were also comments that considered the timetable for further preparations challenging. It was assessed that the agility of the project organisation, involvement of different parties and openness would boost the project’s potential.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will take account of the comments in preparing the introduction of the mobile application and drafting legislative proposals.

Preparations proceed as necessary legislation is drafted, the operating model specified and technical specifications defined

Many European Union Member States are developing applications. When developing its own solution, Finland will rely on the experiences gained by them, both in terms of benefits and challenges, and monitors international developments.  The aim is also to make the application or its parts compatible within the EU.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has entrusted the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare with taking measures aimed at developing the application, such as defining the functionalities of the mobile application, carrying out the technical implementation and procuring the necessary software.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for drafting the legislation necessary to introduce the application and engaging in international cooperation  relating to the development of the application. For this purpose, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will set up working groups.

The timetable for legislative amendments has a significant effect on when the application is ready for use and when the piloting can be carried out.  According to the current preliminary timetable, the application could be introduced in late summer 2020, but the timetable will be specified as the preparations proceed.

Inquiries:

Minna Saario, Director, [email protected]