Italy launches Immuni contact-tracing app

How It Works the App Immuni

Here is what you need to know about the Immuni app

Immuni is an app that helps us fight the COVID-19 epidemic. The app, developed by tech start-up Bending Spoons, uses technology to alert the users who have had a risky exposure—even if they are asymptomatic.

  • The app aims to notify users at risk of carrying the virus as early as possible—even when they are asymptomatic.
  • These users can then self-isolate to avoid infecting others. This minimises the spread of the virus, while speeding up a return to normal life for most people.
  • By being alerted early, these users can also contact their general practitioner promptly and lower the risk of serious consequences.

How does the Immuni app work?

Immuni app

The Immuni app tracks people who test positive to the coronavirus by using Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth allows you to track the proximity between two smartphones that are within one meter from one another, retracing all the meetings of a person which tested positive to Covid-19. This means that the app is able to trace and isolate all the potentially infected users. When someone tests positive to the coronavirus, the app will send an alert to the users who have been in contact with that individual, sending a range of recommendations on how to handle the situation while always maintaining anonymity. By being alerted early, the users can contact their general practitioner and, therefore, lower the risk of serious consequences.

What about the privacy?

Immuni has been designed and developed while taking great care to safeguard user privacy. Any data, collected and managed by the Ministry of Health and by public bodies, is stored on servers located in Italy. All the data and app connections with the server are protected.

Anonymity is at the core of the app but how does it work? The Bluetooth generates numeric keys, leaving all sensitive data on the smartphone itself, preventing it from being stored on external servers. For example, if a user is infected, all those that have come into contact with that user will receive an alert, notifying that someone they’ve come in contact with is infected. The identity of the infected user will be kept anonymous. At that point, all users will be given guidelines on what to do next.

Immuni doesn’t gather your first name, last name, or date of birth, your phone number, your email address, the identity of the person you meet and your location or your movements.

What should I do to make sure I’m using the app correctly?

Immuni app

To make sure you are using the app as intended, simply open it and check that ‘Service active’ is written in the Home section. If it’s not, tap on ‘Reactivate Immuni’ and follow the instructions to make the app work correctly. Immuni operates in the background, so the important thing is that your smartphone is turned on and Bluetooth is active.

Some other important suggestions to ensure that Immuni is effective:

  • When you leave your house, always bring your smartphone with Immuni installed.
  • Don’t disable Bluetooth (except when you’re sleeping, if you prefer).
  • Don’t uninstall the app.
  • When the app sends you a notification, it’s vital that you read it, open the app, and follow all the instructions provided.

The app is not mandatory

Downloading the Immuni app is not mandatory, the use of the contact-tracing app is entirely voluntarily. In order for the app to be effective, it is estimated that 60% of the population would need to download the app. “We hope our citizens will adopt it massively, as their support is needed to make a contact-tracing system work,” said Domenico Arcuri, the government’s special commissioner for the coronavirus emergency.

Immuni gets increasingly effective as more people use the app. The greater the uptake of Immuni, the higher the number of potentially infected users the app can notify. These users can then self-isolate, helping to contain the epidemic and speeding up the return to a normal life. However, even if the uptake of Immuni ends up being limited, the app will still contribute to slowing down the epidemic—especially in combination with the other measures implemented by the government.

Where can I download Immuni?

Immuni app is completely free of charge. and available on App Store and Google Play. You shouldn’t notice a difference in terms of battery life. Immuni uses Bluetooth Low Energy, a technology designed to be particularly energy efficient.

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