A contact-tracing application launched on Tuesday evening in France already has over one million users, the French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Cedric O, announced on Saturday.
This corresponds to the number of activations of the StopCovid application and not just downloads, the Secretary of State said, adding that the million-user mark was passed at 7.30 a.m. on Saturday.
How effective the app is for smartphones depends on the number of people who use it, even if the French Government feels it is useful “from the first downloads.”
“We do not have a precise objective” in terms of the number of users, Cedric O said on Saturday morning. He stressed, however, that the app is “particularly useful” for people living in urban areas “who take public transport and go to bars and restaurants”.
StopCovid tells users whether they have come into contact in the past two weeks with someone infected with the virus.
An alarm is triggered when the two persons’ smartphones come within a metre of each other for more than 15 minutes.
The app has been highly criticized by people who fear it paves the way for a surveillance society since it entails keeping a trace of other users met in the past two weeks.
The Government counters that the app does not manage the identifiers clearly but by pseudonyms that change regularly.
The French Government chose to award the designing of the app to French actors commissioned by the national IT research institute, INRIA.
It refused to use a platform proposed by US giants Google and Apple, at the risk, according to some observers, of coming up with a technically unreliable product.
Launched on Tuesday, the app still topping the list of application downloads in France this weekend.