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Corona warning app broken for weeks, millions of Germans affected

The Corona warning app on a smartphone.

picture alliance / Eibner press photo

After the introduction of the Corona warning app, the federal government patted itself on the shoulder. It is “not the first Corona app worldwide, but the best!” Said the head of the Federal Chancellery, Helge Braun. And Chancellor Merkel also emphasized: “This app has earned its trust.” But as the “Bild” newspaper now reports, the app has been faulty since it was launched, especially on smartphones from the manufacturers Samsung and Huawei: it warns too late or not at all .

40 percent of Germans use a Samsung brand smartphone, 17 percent use a Huawei brand. That means millions of people affected. Many of these smartphones deactivated the background updates to the Corona Warning app without being asked, but this is necessary for it to function properly. Because: In order to properly warn the user about contact with people infected with Corona, the app must scan the surroundings anonymously and via Bluetooth permanently for the Bluetooth signals of other app users. Even if the app is not open. However, because smartphones of the above-mentioned manufacturers deactivated the background updates required for this (which saves electricity), the software installed on such smartphones did not send out any signals – and did not receive any.

“Rested on the download numbers”

A spokesman for the SAP newspaper confirmed to the “Bild” newspaper that it was actually “a problem with previous versions of the Corona warning app regarding background updates on Android devices” because the automatic comparison in the background “from a part of Android Smartphones prevented “. Health Minister Jens Spahn referred to the “Bild” on the latest version 1.11 of the app, which now has a slider with which the background updates can be activated permanently.

This update is too late for the FDP digital expert. He told “Bild” that every new app had teething problems. “But instead of fixing it and further developing the app, the federal government would rather rest on the download figures of 16 million.” The President of the Gesellschaft für Informatik, Hannes Federrath, goes one step further and says that it is a very make annoying mistakes that could be “dangerous for the health” of users.

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