European countries debut their own versions of contact tracing apps

ABC’s Maggie Rulli is on the Isle of Wight off the coast of mainland England where they are testing out a contact tracing app in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
7:33 | 06/17/20

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Transcript for European countries debut their own versions of contact tracing apps
As communities across the globe continued to struggled to stay open with a pandemic still raging. Many health officials are press importance of contact tracing you've likely heard of the term in essence contact tracing helps officials. Keep tabs on who has the virus and who they may have interacted with and that could prove key to curbing its spread. But as Maggie really explains critics are bringing a potential privacy issues with many of these apps used to keep track of this plus the question. Will it will really work. Known for its stunning coastline and mild climate he until blade extended vacation destination since Victorian times today this place that still losing his old English charm can now be the key to controlling this pandemic should becoming ground zero for a new and controversial contact tracing him. Run that buried in highland white at least it's kind of the perfect location to rolled out this kind of contact tracing system. Residents of the small population just a few hours outside of London and they can try to come if you look coming on and off the island to meet you this controlled. Community that scientists can study. More than 40000 people have died from Kobe in nineteen in the UK it's the most of any European country. Officials here are desperate to avoid a second wave action and are no looking to this tiny kindly for hope. Setting the results of weeks of contact tracing their before pulling out the out nationwide. It doesn't luck. We there's no danger to anything or any loans and his does work it's given consideration or protection she you know without just another country we want to help. Come we want to leave Britain out of this Coretta virus. Conundrum and this is the way we can do so we've got people from across PH writes about should cut we go to politics there's no bad thing because we need to protect Minnesota thanks. The apple relies on people's readiness to share personal information and it has to be downloaded and Bluetooth settings enabled him people that must disclose their post at the end of they have cove in nineteen symptoms with the app which then alerts to nearby users that they may have come into contact with an infected person and those pains via the option quarantine for fourteen days advocates claim this technology can rapidly stopped cove in nineteen from spreading. It's not a whole solution but it's really essential pot because normal Mulder purchase console was but others question if the technology won't really work. He works most effectively if more than half. Of the population download sixty and other experts say it should only be used to supplement human contact tracers not replace them and those who were most vulnerable to cove in nineteen like the elderly. And I even have the Smartphones needed to gives the F. The proponents like Michael Parker that this is to help create the UK sap should say even a small number of users can have a major impact. City every person downloads it. Makes a difference answers there's a relationship basically you won't loan relationships and what if what bus downloads it. And bees were less infection. Some see this technology as a crucial component to reopening economies. And as countries begin to ease lockdown since the pressure to prevent more infections and a second wave is hiding. France has launched its stop proving that while Switzerland are mopping up plan to use Google and apple software for their own versions Germany launched its apt today. And Italy just started a pilot program. But you is notorious for its stringent Internet privacy laws and the apps are raising concerns over the use and storage of people's personal data. Norway had to pull it up from the market after a watchdog agency said it posed a threat. Acting user privacy. Her cable Eaton is one of dozens of top cyber security analyst who weren't open letter to UK government demanding transparency. We as a society. And listen we are bio literacy greeted by liberty to association of freedom of expression. The more civilians is introduced. To more we have to beat audits about what we do who'll be associated with. Is your reopens its internal borders countries are trying to strike a balance. In the UK creators of the apps say it would not attract any personal data not even someone's location since the app relies on Bluetooth to -- others who may have come into contact with an infected person for any information will only be stored for twenty days. The bulletin warns that even be seemingly limited apps could be a slippery slope to. The kind of surveying that's been seen China. The place for the government has a heavy handed citizens' personal lives. Scanners abound in public places people are assigned personal Q are codes containing their health information. It takes one call to determine if someone can leave their home. Yet despite having some of the strictest preventative measures the new cluster emerged in Beijing just this week. Officials there are able to track and test tens of thousands in the matter of days. An in South Korea the government also has an indecent approach. Even though it was applauded for its contained in of the virus. It's kind of price. South Korea has deployed thousands of contact tracers used cctv surveillance cell phone's GPS credit card transactions and travel and medical records to track the virus. The lot of South Koreans say. They understand what they're giving up. It's for the sake of the public good. Putting him up don't it and yes it is a vile race against privacy but it is necessary. This is a global fight. We're all in this together Kobe in nineteen has left many questions and answers. How to best prevent a second wave remains one of the top issues. For a majority of the states in the US the answer for now he's an old school approach then we get on the science and contacts in cases in which he hates it and it's pretty crude into. Since actor Michael reed heads the contact tracing training program in California she says that a widespread app in the US. Isn't likely to work here. She's been disproportionately affected by early ninety yeah I. Not our nation's port needs he's where she's. But he payouts are so I don't know smile on our key is going to be an artist communities would need to be reached. Instead it interpersonal contact tracing program is more or trade contact research connects with those who may have been exposed to the virus. It follows up with them every few days to see they develop symptoms and it's a mess and it's been around for hundreds of years and used successfully for diseases like tuberculosis. Similar to an after they can prevent people from spreading it to others. One of the holidays that we can provide a bullet that we can be an. Did I know you so yeah. You meet somebody and her. And graduate education resource is in these moments. You might easily and be hello I'm I was anxious. I need maybe not. To apply his mandate across the country it's going to take in the army at an estimated cost about three point seven billion dollars to cover a 100000 contacts resource. And even though some say an apple would be helpful to supplement does on the ground action any widespread rollout in the US seems far off. Graduate pew research poll late last year 66%. Said that the risk of the government collecting people's personal data outweighed the benefits. But for many people on the island white they feel that this new technology comes with a sense of responsibility. And perhaps an opportunity to make a difference. Me and my team work every day on the these woods we welcome anything it would environments. She had difficulty they pay for these people get the infections I'm really proud of the effects. Work that's been done that's gone on to try to. Maggie really ABC news London.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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