A voluntary contact tracing app has been launched in Italy after it was approved by the national body that regulates privacy, the country's Health Ministry said Monday.
The app, called Immuni, "respects the Italian and European privacy norms,” the Health Ministry statement says. It can be downloaded for free from the Apple and Google stores.
Using Bluetooth technology, smartphones downloading the app will exchange random codes -- but not information that could identify devices' owners such as names, emails, phone numbers or GPS data.
"The app is able to determine that contact has taken place between two users without knowing who those users are and where the contact occurred," said Milan-based company Bending Spoons, which developed the app.
When two smartphones which have installed the app and have Bluetooth activated are in proximity, they store each other's random code, taking note of the length of the meeting and the distance among the two devices.
If the device’s owner tests positive for Covid-19, with their consent a health care operator will transfer their device's encrypted code to a server, and any individuals who also downloaded the app and have been in close contact with the infected person will receive a notification, the Health Ministry statement explained.
Users must be at least 14 years old, and those between 14 and 18 must have the authorization of at least one parent or legal guardian to download it.
The first four regions to roll out the app on June 8 will be Abruzzo, Liguria, Marche and Puglia.