The Japanese government on Thursday urged citizens to install the country’s first coronavirus tracking application when launching the country this week, and promised that the system will not infringe on users’ privacy.
As in many countries/regions, the smartphone app will also rely on Bluetooth tracking and obtain user permission, and will be launched on Friday.
“This is an important tool to protect your life, so please install it.” Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi in charge of the government’s coronavirus response said at a press conference.
When users of smartphone apps are at a certain distance from each other, the software will record their encrypted data.
When users who test positive for the coronavirus voluntarily register their information, other users who have entered their meters for at least 15 minutes are notified.
The app was developed under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and does not record personally identifiable data, such as phone numbers or locations, so “you can use it safely,” senior government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said this week.
Virus tracking applications have been launched in dozens of other countries in various forms, some of which have raised concerns about privacy and government surveillance.
Asian countries are the first countries to launch these countries, and China has launched several countries that use mobile phone networks for geographic location, or data collected from train and airline travel or highway checkpoints.
Their use is systematic and mandatory, and played a key role in allowing Beijing to lift the regional blockade.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong and Taiwan have used GPS and wi-fi to monitor people in the quarantine area, while South Korea has issued a large number of mobile phone alerts announcing the locations visited by the infected.
The scale of the coronavirus outbreak in Japan is relatively small, with fewer than 18,000 recorded cases and 935 deaths.
Due to the increase in the number of infections, a state of emergency was implemented nationwide in April, although government officials have urged caution, it has since been cancelled.
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