Since its debut, the mobile application has caused privacy concerns among citizens.
Rabat – Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) recently developed an application to track the movement of citizens to ensure their adherence to the state of emergency. Some citizens have expressed privacy concerns, but Deputy-Prefect of the Casablanca police Hamid El Bahri assured the application has several features to protect personal information.
The sole objective of the application is to limit unnecessary movement of citizens to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from one region to another, El Bahri told Moroccan news outlet Le360.
Police use the application exclusively to detect state of emergency violations and not to monitor the movement of citizens inside their neighborhoods, he said.
Other than identity card numbers, the mobile application does not store any personal information of citizens, and the data goes directly to a restricted-access database that police officers cannot access.
Authorities also cannot use the application outside of security checkpoints and cannot download it from any source other than the DGSN’s private servers.
The application, first announced on April 21, is currently in use in Casablanca, Morocco’s hardest-hit city by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application is also undergoing a trial period in Rabat, Fez, and Marrakech, pending its generalization to all Moroccan cities.
The mobile application has several functions to assist police officers on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.
“It allows us to prepare a database that contains information about any individual that has an exceptional movement permit and undergoes a police check. The application identifies individuals and their vehicles and facilitates the control at the level of each police roadblock,” El Bahri said.
The application can detect several state of emergency violations.
“When you have a permit to shop in your neighborhood, going to another area is against the law. With this application, we can easily find out,” El Bahri explained.
“A person with a permit to go to the workplace can justify a single trip, but not several in the same day. The application can detect such deviations,” he continued.
The same restrictions apply to people who leave their homes for emergencies. Citizens can justify one emergency situation. However, they cannot use different excuses to go through police roadblocks.
“A person authorized to circulate in the event of force majeure is reported to all checkpoints. They cannot, therefore, claim several emergencies,” El Bahri said.
DGSN engineers and technicians developed the mobile application taking into account both security requirements and public health preservation.