Numerous federal states leave further use of the Luca app open

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The future of the Luca app for tracking contacts in the corona pandemic is still open in almost all federal states with a Luca license. While Schleswig-Holstein has already decided to terminate the contract with the private operator, twelve countries are only checking this, according to a survey by the German Press Agency. Three states do not have a contract: North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Thuringia, but individual health authorities also use the app there.

The Luca app is intended to help restaurant owners and event organizers to record visitor contacts, which is required by law in most federal states, without paperwork. It can be connected directly to the health authorities. Vaccination certificates can also be deposited. The federal government’s Corona-Warn-App (CWA) informs citizens anonymously about a possible risk of infection, vaccination and test certificates can be stored and events can also be entered.

Data protectionists see risks in the central storage of data at Luca, the manufacturers refer to protection through encryption technology. The app is used with varying degrees of frequency by health authorities. The German District Association assesses Luca positively. “The Luca system can relieve the health authorities and should therefore continue to be used,” said a spokeswoman.

The app recently caused discussions because the police in Mainz used data from the app via the health department when investigating a fatal fall in a restaurant – without an adequate legal basis. After that, individual politicians demanded that federal states not extend expiring contracts for the app. The police action in Mainz was also sharply criticized by the makers of the Luca app.

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  • Schleswig-Holstein lets the license expire. The decision to terminate the contract in March was mainly made because the Corona state ordinance has no longer contained an obligation to collect contact details since September 2021, said a spokeswoman for the Schleswig-Holstein district association.
  • The Ministry of Health Baden-Wuerttemberg does not want to make a decision until the end of February before the deadline in March. The state government sees the app as a “good and data protection-compliant component” of precaution, but emphasizes that the Corona warning app and Luca app can be used at the same time. More than 5.9 million people checked in within 28 days. The network policy spokesman for the Greens in the state parliament, Alexander Salomon, considers the Luca app to be “stone dead” when warned and tracked.

  • Bayern has not yet made a decision as to whether it will continue to rely on Luca. That said a spokesman for the Ministry of Digital Affairs. The license expires on April 5th.
  • The Senate in Berlin also checks whether the contract will be extended. That will soon be decided “after a comprehensive assessment of the previous deployment and the pandemic situation”, explained the health administration. Past use has been positive. The contract ends in March.
  • Brandenburg has provided around one million euros for one-year use of the app in 18 health authorities, the contract runs until the end of March. The Ministry of Health announced that the decision as to whether the contract would be extended is still pending. The Corona warning app is a good alternative since check-in for restaurants is also possible with it. A survey by the ministry in 2021 revealed that only one health department reported productive use of Luca.
  • Even if Bremen who continues to use the Luca app is unclear. “The contract runs until March, by then a decision will be made,” said a spokeswoman for the health department. Since the introduction in spring 2021, data has only been requested from Luca ten times in Bremen. But: “The system is easy to use in the health department.”
  • The Hanseatic City Hamburg As a Luca frequent user and home of the first Luca representative Smudo from the Fantastischen Vier, a decision to extend the license is still pending. “A decision must be made by the end of February,” said a spokesman for the tax authority.
  • Hessen has procured the Luca app under the leadership of the Ministry for Digital Strategy and Development and invested 2.1 million euros. The contract runs until the end of March. A final decision on an extension has not yet been made.
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had re-signed the contract at short notice after a reprimand from the Higher Regional Court because of a direct award. According to the Ministry of Digitization, this expires on March 12th. Until then, it should be decided how to proceed.
  • Ob Lower Saxony According to Health Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD), the Luca app will continue to be used has not been clarified. A license runs until the end of March.
  • Also in Rhineland-Palatinate According to government spokeswoman Andrea Bähner, a decision has not yet been made. “Rhineland-Palatinate is very interested in a joint solution.” The state data protection officer Dieter Kugelmann calls for “serious examination of whether the Luca app is still needed as a tool to combat the pandemic”. The Corona warning app may be sufficient.
  • Im Saarland it is also unclear whether the contract will be extended beyond March. The health authorities, the Dehoga and the Pop-Rat – a pop culture committee – were asked to comment on the decision, the Ministry of Health announced.
  • In Saxony-Anhalt Digital Minister Lydia Hüskens (FDP) recommends an end to the contract “because the Corona warning app is a state-funded app that offers functionalities similar to the Luca app”. The relief for health authorities did not occur to the extent hoped for. The Ministry of Health wants to talk to countries that have used the Luca app in the next few weeks and agree on a decision. The contract expires in March.

Patrick Hennig, Managing Director of the Luca operator neXenio, appealed to the countries to use all established technical means at the peak of the incidences to get the pandemic under control. “The Luca app and the Corona warning app complement each other perfectly.” Information on the individual risk is particularly important when the incidences are very high and CWA warnings appear very frequently. “And only the Luca app provides that.” The information about the circumstances, place and time of a possible infection are “often the tip of the scales that make you really go into isolation or at least get tested”.


(kbe)

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