The RKI corona app: does it even work?
Photo: imago images/Patrick Scheiber

BerlinFifty-two per cent of people told pollsters they would not be installing the corona warning app developed by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's disease control centre.

About half (48 per cent) of the 2,000 people interviewed in a survey commissioned by consumer electronics association gfu (which organises the ifa tech fair currently underway in Berlin) said they saw no personal benefits in using the app.

Thirty-three per cent said they had doubts that user data was sufficiently secure, despite the app having been praised by privacy advocacy groups like Berlin’s Chaos Computer Club.

The RKI Corona Warn-App has been downloaded 18 million times. Thirty-five per cent of people surveyed said they had installed it or were planning to do so.

Around 120 medical labs are supplying the app with corona testing data. About 300,000 test results have been uploaded into the database on which the app is based.

But does the app actually work? Some researchers have their doubts.

“I don’t think there’s good enough data to be able to say what influence the German corona warning app has had on the spread of Covid-19 so far," said London researcher Isobel Braithwaite, according to the dpa news agency. "One of the reasons is that health authorities have very limited access to the app’s data in the decentralised Apple-Google system."

Thirty per cent of the people polled fear a loss of personal autonomy by using the app. Yet the app is already being made redundant: On Tuesday Apple and Google revealed that corona warning functionality would be available in the latest versions of IoS and Anroid – without having to install an app. The tech giants are in discussion with governments on how the new system would work in individual countries.