The Ministry of Communications has assured users of the GH COVID-19 tracker App of the security of the information they will provide to enhance the contact tracking and testing of Coronavirus cases in the country.
According to the ministry, standard security protocols and permissions worldwide have been used in the building of the app.
The response of the Ministry follows concerns raised by a section of the general public over the safety of the personal information required by the App, to help in identifying and tracking persons who may have come into contact with persons with the virus.
But speaking at the COVID-19 weekly briefing today, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu maintained that the GH-COVID 19 tracker App is safe for use.
“The permissions are the standard permissions many of these web links will require for many apps. So the answer maybe is that it is as safe as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter because the permissions are the normal standard permissions one will require. The same protocols are being used –strict data permission guidelines have been issued and are being used. As I have already indicated, the only information we need is the location and the [contact] numbers so that the Ghana Health Service can know where exactly the issues and hotspots are and zero in on them. ”
The GH COVID-19 Tracker App is user friendly and free to download mobile software applications that will be available for Android and iOS devices which will enhance productivity assistance which will augment the state’s efforts in the fight against the global pandemic.
It can also be accessed through the USSD code *769# on all networks with options in six local languages.
According to the experts, the software will trace anyone who has come into contact with persons carrying the COVID -19 virus.
The Minister has already mentioned that privacy and confidentiality of data provided by users remain crucial and as such, the tracker will not make use of personal identification information.
“Let me reiterate the fact that the systems’ data is encrypted such that no personal information – name, ID or address is recorded on the platform. We are mindful of the privacy of the potential victims and that of all of us,” she said.
The tracker Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful has stated will boost the country’s fight against the pandemic by providing accurate data to curb the spread of the virus.
She says the tracker has been designed to quicken the contact tracing efforts and also to discover information that may be difficult to gather through the manual process noting that, the government is committed to using innovative technology in its quest to combat the pandemic.