The StopCovid project, a digital solution to contribute to the citizens' fight against the Covid19 epidemic

Date :
Changed on 03/06/2020
As part of the overall strategy to fight the Covid-19 epidemic, France is exploring digital solutions to support the epidemiological understanding of the virus, improve the health treatment of the crisis and facilitate exit from confinement.
Bandeau Covid 2

 

Under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Solidarity and the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation since 7 April 2020, Inria has been leading the development of the StopCovid application, to which a group of public and private players have contributed free of charge as part of the StopCovid project team, which includes ANSSI, Capgemini, Dassault Systèmes, INSERM, Lunabee, Orange, Santé Publique France and Withings, and which is completed by an ecosystem of contributors. This project contributes to the management of the Covid-19 health crisis and the epidemiological monitoring by health authorities.

Before any political decision is taken, the objective of the project is to make it possible to make available an application to inform users if they have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, and to propose the appropriate course of action, in accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and Solidarity. The application would be part of a citizen's fight against the spread of the virus since it is based on voluntary work.

The project is based on the implementation of a protocol, ROBERT, which gave rise to an opinion of the National Digital Council (made public on 24 April 2020) and a deliberation of the CNIL (made public on 26 April 2020).

Five foundations guide the developments:

  • The inclusion of the StopCovid application in the overall strategy for managing the health crisis and epidemiological monitoring.
  • Strict compliance with the data protection and privacy framework at national and European level, as defined in particular by French law and the RGPD, as well as the toolbox recently defined by the European Commission on proximity monitoring applications.
  • Transparency, which notably involves the dissemination, under an open source licence, of the specific work carried out within the framework of the project. The objective is to provide all the guarantees: transparency of the algorithms, open code in the long term, interoperability, auditability, security and reversibility of the solutions.
  • Respect for the principles of digital sovereignty of the public health system: control of health choices by French and European society, protection and structuring of health data assets to guide the response to the epidemic and accelerate medical research.

The temporary nature of the project, whose lifespan will correspond, if deployed, to the duration of the management of the Covid-19 epidemic.

FAQ

  • Consult the answers provided by the StopCovid project team and its partners on technical questions related to the development of the StopCovid application: FAQ on technical aspects of the StopCovid application.

  • In addition, we invite you to consult the general information page on the StopCovid application and the FAQ on the functionalities, health, development and public freedoms sections on the government site.

Key steps of the StopCovid application

  • 24 March: a Committee for Analysis, Research and Expertise (CARE), chaired by the virologist Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and bringing together 12 doctors and researchers, is set up with the main task of proposing to the French authorities  
  • innovative, scientific and technological solutions to respond to the health crisis. Among all the solutions and doctrines studied, from tests to clinical trials, the CARE committee is also supporting the authorities' reflection on the advisability of a digital strategy for the voluntary identification of people who have been in contact with infected persons. From the outset, the project has been envisaged as a solution that is fully integrated into the health process.
  • 07 April: Inria is appointed by the government to manage the StopCovid project team and the ecosystem of contributors who are working to develop a mobile contact tracing application for France.
  • 08 April: the Ministers of Health and Digital Affairs, Olivier Véran and Cédric O, announce that work is underway to build the prototype of a French application, STOPCOVID, as part of a global deconfinement strategy. The leadership of the project, which involves both public and private players, has been entrusted to Inria.
  • 15 April: finalization of the roadmap with the partners and contributors of the StopCovid project team on the operational side to deliver a solution that takes into account all dimensions.
  • 18 April: publication of version 1 of the ROBERT communication protocol by Inria (Privatics research team) and Fraunhofer/AISEC, as part of a Franco-German project, to provide a framework for the overall operation, outline the security and privacy aspects, and guarantee interoperability at European level for the deployment of an application. On the basis of this protocol, the developers who are members of the StopCovid project team are working on the implementation of the first functional building blocks of the application and its infrastructure, with a view to proposing an application that can be deployed operationally as needed, within a timetable set by the government.
  • 18 April: Bruno Sportisse publishes a tribune to explain Inria's commitment to the fight against Covid-19 and provide elements of understanding on the Robert protocol and the StopCovid application.
  • 21 April: The EDPB (European Data Protection Board, the equivalent of the CNIL at the European level) publishes recommendations specifying that both types of centralized and decentralized architectures can be used within the European data protection framework.
  • 24 April: The Conseil national du numérique issues a favorable opinion on the principle of StopCovid, as the building block of a more global strategy.
  • 26 April: The CNIL considers the system to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD) if certain conditions are met. It notes that a number of guarantees are provided by the government's plan, including the use of pseudonyms.
  • 26 April: publication of the introductory article by the StopCovid project team and its contributors.
  • 12 May: Start of publication of the StopCovid source code and documentation on Gitlab Inria. The teams of developers from all the partners are mobilized.
  • 12 May: hearing of Guillaume Poupard, president of the ANSSI, at the French National Assembly on the security aspect of the StopCovid application.
  • 18 to 22 May: After technical laboratory tests and taking into account the work carried out by French public and private sector researchers, in cooperation with their German and British counterparts, simulation tests under real conditions are deployed to verify the operation of the StopCovid application and to measure the results of proximity detection in different situations. Further tests on the functional aspect/user experience of the application, to evaluate the reactions to the use of a representative panel of users, external to the project team, are planned in the following days.
  • 26 May: CNIL gives its advice on the conditions of implementation of the "StopCovid" application
  • 27 May: the National Assembly approves the implementation of the StopCovid application (553 voters with 338 votes in favour and 215 votes against).
  • 27 May: Start of the phase of private Bounty Bug Bug driven by YesWeHack.
  • 27 May: The Senate voted in favour of the government's declaration on digital innovations in the fight against the covid-19 epidemic, in accordance with Article 50-1 of the Constitution, by 187 votes to 127.
  • 01 June: documentation of the scientific fundamentals of the project are available on GitLab
  • 01 June: The private phase of the Bug Bounty is closed.
  • 02 June: The StopCovid application is available for download on App Store and Play Store
  • 02 June: The public phase of the Bug Bounty StopCovid program is available.  

StopCovid in practice

The objective is to be able to inform the user of the application that their smartphone has recently been in close proximity to a smartphone with the application and the user has since been diagnosed positive for Covid-19. This proximity is indeed likely, according to the state of medical knowledge, to result in a risk of transmission of the virus. The technology used is that of Bluetooth: there is therefore no geolocation. To find all the information on how to use the application, please consult the StopCovid page published by the government.