By Ayman Adly
Qatar residents need not have any privacy concerns about the Ehteraz app, a very important tool to combat the Covid-19 outbreak and safeguard public health, a senior official assured on Wednesday.
“Ehteraz will never undermine the privacy of the users and the stored information will not be kept beyond two months before being deleted forever,” Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, director of Public Health Department at the Ministry of Public Health, told Qatar TV.
Regarding the need of the Ehteraz app to get access to the photos of the users, he explained it is just a system requirement in various apps aimed at accurately specifying the location of the person in case of any disruption to the transmission. “In any case the stored information cannot be accessed by anyone other than the authorised health authorities and that too for the designated health protection purposes only.”
“The Ehteraz app helps the health authorities to maintain quick response and reach out to potential cases in a timely manner. The app will help people to return to normal life with the assurance that they are well-protected and give them instant feedback on their health status.
“Ehteraz will save the country and its people from the trouble of having another wave of the Covid-19 infection. The app depends on location and Bluetooth to accurately specify a user’s surrounding and any potential contact with infected persons. In particular, Bluetooth specifies the distance between people accurately as 2m to avoid any misleading information about the health status when a person gets into contact with infected cases.
“The health sector in Qatar and everywhere else in the world need specific information about the people for their well-being and the privacy of such information is strictly maintained and protected as nobody would ever dare to use such information for other than the designated health purposes,” Sheikh Dr Mohamed asserted.
The senior official further stressed that people need to use the Ehteraz app only during the Covid-19 pandemic situation so that the health authorities can protect them from the infection. “When the situation goes back to normal, people can delete the app and go about their lives,” Sheikh Dr Mohamed said. “There will be an update for the Ehteraz app to address the issues of concern and further improve its efficiency,” he added.
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