Gov't-backed contact tracing app told to turnover all data to DOH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11) — The COVID-19 task force has ordered the country's official contact tracing application to hand over all the personal data collected to the national government.

Inter-Agency Task Force Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said, under IATF Resolution No. 45, StaySafe.PH is given 30 days to migrate all sensitive data it has collected since its launch in April to the Department of Health's Covid-Kaya.

A memorandum order agreement shall be signed with the DOH, formalizing its donation of StaySafe's source code, data, data ownership, and intellectual property.

"Gobyerno na po ang magmamay-ari ng datos. Wala pong ibang maghahawak niyan. Gobyerno lamang," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: The government will now own the data. No one else can store it.]

Moving forward, StaySafe's function will be limited to data collection. All the data collected will then be stored on DOH's system.

Roque said, failure to comply on the part of StaySafe will result to IATF terminating its endorsement to use the app as the Philippines' "official social-distancing, health-condition-reporting, and contact-tracing system that will assist in the government’s response to COVID-19.”

The government's National Task Force Against COVID-19 partnered with software solutions company MultiSys to create the website and mobile application to serve as an online tracker at no cost to the Duterte administration.

MultiSys previously assured the privacy of the users, saying the company made sure to comply with the Data Privacy Act when it was developing the online platform.

Aside from data privacy issues, resigned Communications Technology Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr, also raised concerns over the app's limitations, questioning its ability to help the government curb the spread of COVID-19 through contact tracing.

"If they only depend on StaySafe as the government contact tracing app, we would never be able to flatten this pandemic curve," he said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Roque also denied that Rio's comments on StaySafe finally pushed President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the resignation he submitted four months ago.