Coronavirus tracking app ready for beta testing by end May

The Dutch government appointed a team of experienced developers to create its coronavirus tracking app and hopes to have the first version ready for beta testing by end May, Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health said to parliament. The government also released a timetable to explain the development of the new app.

The Ministry of Public Health decided to develop its own tracking app after a previous attempt to get such an app off the ground stranded when none of the seven potential apps met all the privacy and security requirements. The app is intended to make it easier for health services GGD to track possible coronavirus infections. If someone is diagnosed with the coronavirus, the app should send a message to all the phones that were in the patient's vicinity, warning that their owners may also be infected.

The government is going for a transparent development of its app. The GGD will clarify what exactly the app must be able to do, to simplify contact research. And a team including several external experts will develop the app. The external experts include Dirk-Willem van Gulik, known for the widely used Apache software, according to RTL Nieuws. And Jelle Prince, responsible for the Uber apps for many years.

In the run-up to the beta testing, the government will also publish interim results. "We do this openly to not only show what we are doing and where we stand, but also to actively use the knowledge and experience of everyone who wants to participate." Privacy, rights and data security will be given high priority, the government said.