Together we can fight coronavirus – Smittestopp temporarily deactivated

Smittestopp is an app that will help the health authorities to limit the transmission of coronavirus and alert users with text messages about close contact with infected persons. Anonymised data on movement patterns of the population collected by the app are also supposed to be used to develop efficient infection control measures. After having received a notification from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority imposing a temporary ban on processing personal data collected by the app, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) has temporarily suspended the use of the app, and will delete all personal data collected so far.

The app shown on a smart phone
Foto: Mostphotos/Farknot Architect

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Once you have downloaded and started to use the Smittestopp app, you will be sent a text message if you have been in close contact with another Smittestopp user who is subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19. The message will advise about how to limit further transmission.

For updated privacy policy, see Use of Smittestopp and privacy policy (fhi.no)

No text messages about close contact with infected persons have yet been sent to Smittestopp users. Once the system for notifications is implemented, it will include a solution where app users can check if a message has been sent to them.

Anonymised data for research

​Through the Smittestopp app, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health receives anonymised data about movement patterns in society. The data you share is anonymised and will be used to gain insight into the effect of changes to the measures for fighting the virus. It will then be possible to monitor even more closely whether the measures are working, and whether infected people are in close contact with more people as society eases the measures and restrictions.

Notification test

In the first few weeks of operation, the Smittestopp app will mainly collect data about user movements. The app was tested in Drammen, Tromsø and Trondheim from 27th April to 31st May. The app needs further validation and assessment before the alert feature is introduced across Norway. We will assess the functionality before introducing it nationwide.

When the alert feature is in use across Norway, the Smittestopp app will ensure that app users will be told that they have been exposed to infection and will be advised about how to avoid infecting others. Since people can be contagious before developing symptoms, this should happen as quickly as possible to prevent further transmission.

How it works

Georg installs the app on his mobile phone. If Georg becomes ill and his doctor tells him that he has COVID-19 disease, the app can identify other users of the app that he has been in close contact with before he became ill.

The phone's location service feature and Bluetooth detect nearby phones that also have the Smittestopp app. Anyone who is defined as being in close contact with Georg over the past few days will receive an SMS notification with advice on what they should do. They are not told that Georg is infected.

When Georg tested positive, the manual contact tracing began. The healthcare service in Georg's municipality will try to identify who he has had contact with during the last fortnight before he became ill, and will interview him about this. Georg tries hard to remember, but unfortunately cannot be sure that he remembers everyone. Therefore, not all of the people he has been in close contact with are noted in the interviews. However, if both Georg and the close contacts use the Smittestopp app, the close contacts will receive a text message.

Privacy

​The data about where you have been are recorded from Location Services and Bluetooth by the Smittestopp app. These data are deleted after 30 days. While the Smittestopp app is in use, data from the last 30 days are constantly recorded and older data are deleted. You can delete your personal information at any time by using the delete functionality in the app, or you can delete the app. You can also choose whether to turn the logging features on or off.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Simula have worked together to develop the Smittestopp app. Both information security for the data and privacy for users have been a high priority during development. Your data will not be made available to anyone other than authorised personnel, and only then if you are recorded as being in close contact with someone subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19. If you are infected with the coronavirus, the people you have been in close contact with will not be told who is infected, although they may remember who they have been in contact with. They will be told the date of contact.

You have the right to access the data that the Norwegian Institute of Public Health stores about you. The data are collected is safe, and the solution to grant restricted access is in development.  

Questions about Smittestopp

​If you have any questions about how to use the Smittestopp app, contact the Helsenorge helpline on telephone number 23 32 70 00.

If you have questions about how personal data are handled in the Smittestopp app, you can contact the Data Protection Officer at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health by sending an email to personvernombud@fhi.no. You can also contact the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, tel. +47 21 07 70 00.

Brochure about the Smittestopp app

​The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has created a short brochure in PDF format that explains what the Smittestopp app is, and how it is used. You can download it here in a seletion of languages: