French Government Launches StopCovid Project

StopCovid Project. Photo: Inria
StopCovid Project. Photo: Inria

The French government has entrusted the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (Inria) with the operational management of the research and development project called “StopCovid“.

It brings together the expertise of national players, both public and private, within the StopCovid project team. All these players are contributing to the work already under way to provide all French citizens with a tool to better protect them against COVID-19. Sharing the guidelines set by the Government, the project is based on five foundations :

1. The use of the StopCovid app as part of the global strategy for managing the health crisis and epidemiological monitoring. StopCovid project is an additional brick that provides public health actors with a decision-making support for the deconfinement phase.

2. 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.

3. Transparency, which involves the dissemination, under an open source license, of the specific work carried out within the framework of the project. This is in order to provide all the guarantees in terms of controls by society: transparency of algorithms, open code, interoperability, auditability, security and reversibility of the solutions. Thus, this solution could offer basic building blocks that can be used by all countries that wish to use them.

4. 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.

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

The project is conducted under the supervision of the State and gives rise to regular interactions with independent control authorities, notably the CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés – French Data Protection Authority). It also involves DINUM (inter-ministerial directorate for digital).

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The project, in its prototype construction phase, involves public and private organizations acting on a pro bono basis, as part of the StopCovid project team.

At European level, the project is also being carried out in close cooperation with national teams developing comparable applications in Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Norway, based on comparable approaches and ensuring interoperability.

Within the project, coordinated by Inria, the members of the StopCovid project team are involved in their field of expertise:

– Inria: coordination and transmission protocol, privacy-by-design;

– ANSSI: cybersecurity;

– Capgemini: back-end architecture and development;

– Dassault Systèmes: SecNumCloud qualified sovereign data infrastructure;

– Inserm: health models;

– Lunabee Studio: development of mobile applications;

– Orange: application distribution and interoperability;

– Santé Publique France: integration and coordination of the application in the global strategy of contact tracing;

– Withings: connected objects.

Alongside them, the entire ecosystem of research, innovation, and companies is mobilized through the “ecosystem of StopCovid contributors”.

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Rakesh Raman