Employers discouraging use of Covid notification app, unions say
Employers are discouraging or even banning their employees form using the government's coronavirus notification app, because they worry about high absenteeism and its consequences if workers have to go into quarantine, trade unions FNV and CNV said to Trouw. They have received dozens of reports about this.
CNV received reports mainly from retail and industry. "Employers in those sectors do not want their staff to install the CoronaMelder. They are afraid that they will lose their employees for 10 days with every notification from the app, because they will then have to be quarantined," chairman Piet Fortuin said to the newspaper.
FNV received reports of public transit- and healthcare workers being instructed not to use the app. In both sectors, workers come into regular contact with many different people on a daily basis, and there is a good chance that will include someone with the coronavirus.
The app uses Bluetooth technology to track close contacts. If someone tests positive for Covid-19 and reports this on the app, it sends a notification to all app users who was close to that person for 15 minutes or more. But as Bluetooth is not 100 percent accurate, there are a small percentage of cases in which the app notified someone who was further than 1.5 meters away. Bluetooth also can't take account of screens and protective gear worn, employers say.
Explicable or not, it is worrying that employers are discouraging or banning their workers from using the app, CNV said to the newspaper. "This increases the risk of corona infections in the workplace."
On Monday, "artist and privacy thinker" Tijmen Schep warned that the CoronaMelder may not be as anonymous as the government claims, NOS reports. The app itself does not save your personal details, but if you are physically close to someone and know their identity, you can find out whether they used the app to notify contacts, Schep said.
To illustrate this, Schep designed a website where visitors can see who around them uses the app, and can name other users. According to Schep, someone with malicious intentions could use such data to spread the identity of people who have the coronavirus.