The Bluetooth-based application does not collect data on users unless they become infected and consensually offer data access, nor does it track their movements.
Rabat – The Ministry of Health published a clarification statement regarding the safety of personal information when using its newly-launched COVID-19 tracking app, Wiqaytna.
Launched on Monday, June 1, the Bluetooth-based application aims to strengthen the country’s preventive measures to stem the propagation of the COVID-19 pandemic by notifying the user of nearby people who have contracted the virus in the past 21 days.
Following its launch, posts circulated on social media warning Moroccans not to utilize the tracking app, claiming it violates users’ privacy by accessing their list of contacts and activating the GPS mode on their phone.
Others claimed that the application will run permanently in the background of the phone and collect data on the user without consent.
To lift ambiguity, the ministry said that the application uses only Bluetooth technology and it is, therefore, impossible to track users’ movements. It also said the only mandatory information collected in a ministry server is the phone number of the user.
It added that the data collected is stored on the user’s mobile phone and can be transferred to the central information server of the Ministry of Health only in the event of a user’s contamination. Following the confirmation of a COVID-19 infection, the application asks for user consent for the data transfer.
The ministry also said that the National Commission for the Control of the Protection of Personal Data (CNDP) authorized the processing of data and that the application uses open-source software.
The app exchanges Bluetooth signals with other nearby users and records an anonymous code at every crossing.
With more than 500,000 downloads, the Wiqaytna application ranks among the top downloaded apps in the Health category of the Google Play Store. The app is also available on the App Store for iOS users.