App offers complete confidentiality: Sheikh Dr Mohamed
The data of the users of the Ehteraz app, described as a key tool to control the Covid-19 outbreak in Qatar, are subject to complete confidentiality and accessed by the relevant work team only when necessary, a top official has assured.
"An alert may appear to request access to images and files automatically on some phones running the Android Operating System, but this is usual for such handsets,” explained Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, director of Public Health Department at the Ministry of Public Health.
The data from the users of the Ehteraz app also provides an important and temporary backup reference in the event of disconnection from the phone, by providing data about the location in which the data was collected during the interruption period, so as to ensure that the users have accurate information.
The permanent operation of the Bluetooth and Location features in the app are required to identify whether the user has had any contact with any infected individuals, and whether the location concerned was a public place.
Also by operating the Bluetooth feature, the app can determine the distance between the phones of the users of the application, as 2m is recognised as a safe distance, and the competent authorities can obtain information to accurately track the transition strings of the virus.
Sheikh Dr Mohamed pointed out that the data obtained from the Ehteraz app are used by the competent authorities exclusively for medical and health purposes alone.
“The Ehteraz app works in accordance with strict privacy policies and standards of data retention and subject to the highest international standards and laws related to privacy and health in Qatar, and the terms and conditions contain specific details about that,” he said.
Regarding the app requesting different permissions and staying on continuously even if the phone is not being used, Sheikh Dr Mohamed explained they are required in order to be able to accurately track and alert the user in the event of contact with an infected person.
“The Ehteraz app always works to remind the user to follow the precautionary and preventive measures for protection from Covid-19 and providing very important information that enables the user to know if he has to undergo a test or quarantine,” Sheikh Dr Mohamed added.