Norway Pulls Its Contact Tracing App After Privacy Watchdog’s Warning

Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch:

One of the first national coronavirus contacts-tracing apps to be launched in Europe is being suspended in Norway after the country’s data protection authority raised concerns that the software, called “Smittestopp,” poses a disproportionate threat to user privacy — including by continuously uploading people’s location.


Unlike many of the national coronavirus apps in Europe — which use only Bluetooth signals to estimate user proximity as a means of calculating exposure risk to COVID-19 — Norway’s app also tracks real-time GPS location data.

The country took the decision to track GPS before the European Data Protection Board — which is made up of representatives of DPAs across the EU — had put out guidelines, specifying that contact-tracing apps “do not require tracking the location of individual users”; and suggesting the use of “proximity data” instead.

All these stories about unnecessarily invasive data collection sure are starting to make me question the Washington Post’s report about the more privacy-friendly approach recommended by human rights experts and implemented by Apple and Google.