How Immuni, the Coronavirus Tracking App Works

Immuni is the government's app of choice for tracking Covid-19 infected people. Here's how it's supposed to work and when it will be available

Immuni. This is the name of the app chosen by the Extraordinary Commissioner for the Health Emergency, Arcuri, to monitor and track those infected by Covid-19, in order to launch Phase 2 as soon as possible. The news arrived in the evening of April 16 through a note published directly by Commissioner Arcuri. The application has been developed by the Milanese software house Bending Spoons and the contract stipulated with the Government provides for the free transfer of the license to use it. For the State, therefore, there should be no expense.

How will the Immuni app work? For the moment, the characteristics of the application have not been revealed, but the method used should be that of contact tracing via Bluetooth, a system considered safe and reliable, also with regard to privacy. This is the same system that Apple and Google are working on to release a software update for Android and iOS as soon as possible that will integrate tools for tracking the infected.

What will Immuni be used for? The app will allow you to keep track of the contacts a person has had: if they turn out to be infected, all the people they've been in close contact with will be notified. The communication, logically, will only reach people who have installed the app, an installation that is not mandatory, but voluntary. According to data released by the Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitalization, for it to be effective it must be installed by at least 60% of the population.

App Immuni, how it works and what it is for

An app to track and monitor those infected in order to isolate any outbreaks and keep the situation under control. This is the main objective of the Immuni app, which won the call launched by the Ministry of Technological Innovation and Digitization to find systems and technologies to monitor the infected and stem the spread of the virus. Immuni was the best app among 318 projects that arrived in a few days and were evaluated by the task force set up by the Ministry.

The Immuni app was developed by the Milan-based software house Bending Spoons with the collaboration of the Santagostino Medical Center, an expert in digitalization in the medical field. The functioning of the app is still not very clear, the only certainty concerns the fact that the tracking is based on Bluetooth.

Roughly speaking, the app should work in this way: through Bluetooth smartphones exchange information, allowing you to know who you have been in contact with. The system is that of contact tracing already used in other countries for the same reason, a sort of diary of the contagion that is automatically updated on the smartphone. In the event that a person turns out to be infected, all the people with whom he or she has been in contact (and who have installed the app) are notified via a message. Everything happens via Bluetooth, without any tracking of the user's position. The contact list remains saved on the smartphone and is not shared externally.

The installation of the app will be on a voluntary basis and there will be no obligation on the part of citizens.

App Immuni: privacy issue

On this point we must dispel all doubts: the Immuni app was developed trying to comply with all the rules on privacy and personal data protection. That's why it opted for a tracking system based on Bluetooth and not GPS. In addition, the collected data is anonymized so that it cannot be traced back to individuals.

When will the Immuni app be available

The app should be available soon, although first there will need to be a testing phase to check for any bugs. The Immuni app will be available for download directly from the Google Play Store and App Store.