The federal government’s Corona Warning app started a big debate about data protection. There are still critics – like an AfD politician who has launched a counter-instrument on the market. The “Scout App” hardly works and, in case of doubt, does its name far more honor than the supposed government monitoring instrument.
The federal government’s Corona warning app was a long time coming. The reason was the concern of data protectors about the original idea of collecting the data centrally. After switching to the decentralized approach, experts from the warning app also certified that data protection was handled in an exemplary manner – even the Chaos Computer Club. Nevertheless, there are still doubts in some places, especially in the ranks of the AfD. The deputy party chairman Stephan Brandner saw in the app before its publication a “data octopus” with which the users would become transparent people.
The deputy AfD parliamentary group leader Peter Felser is also responsible for the alleged surveillance app. So he had an anti-corona warning app developed by his app publisher, which is now available in the Playstore for Android. The “Scout App” scans the area for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmitters and tracks the number of contacts. This is to locate devices with the Corona warning app installed nearby and even display their distance from their own location.
Peter Felser apparently wants to make it clear that personal data can still be determined with the Corona warning app. However, the digital expert Henning Tillmann refutes this in an interview with the “Business Insider”. Because just knowing how many devices are nearby doesn’t say much. Personal data could not be recorded in this way. Follow-up is also ruled out. Because the short keys of the Corona app would change every 15 minutes.
The concept of the scout app is also anything but new. Bluetooth mappers have been on the market for a long time, and even for free. The scout app is different, for which you have to pay 1.19 euros. However, the scanners not only recognize smartphones with the Corona app, but also generally cell phones and other devices with activated Bluetooth, such as headphones, fitness bracelets and loudspeakers. Many users of the Scout app also have this problem. Others will not see devices even though they have the Corona Warning app installed. Something else is reliable. Accordingly, the ratings in the Play Store are mostly negative.
But that’s not the only critical point: While the federal government’s app expressly cannot access location data, BLE mappers inevitably use this data to function. The scout app can spy on its users much more than their declared enemy. As Peter Felser explained to the “Business Insider”, “Many people refuse a surveillance app and want to know when and where they come into contact with it.” The scout app once again testifies to populism that was thought too short: If you look out Fear of being spied on by an app on third-party devices, offering an application that, in case of doubt, is much more likely to monitor, speaks volumes.