Personal data collected for Covid fight deleted after a month: information ministry

By Chau An   June 2, 2021 | 03:00 am PT
Personal data collected for Covid fight deleted after a month: information ministry
The icon of contact tracing app Bluezone on a smartphone. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy.
Stored citizen data related to coronavirus control measures would be deleted after a month, the Ministry of Information and Communications said Monday.

Minister Nguyen Manh Hung said technological solutions, including contact tracing and medical declaration apps, are a vital part of Vietnam's Covid-19 fight, besides testing and vaccination.

Hung noted that for technological solutions to work, there must be four factors in play: their popularity, synchronization, user-friendliness and privacy.

"First, some essential tech is a must and the number of users must be high enough. Second, their data and data processing must be centralized and link in-between apps, because the more data we have, the sooner and more accurate contact tracing will be. Third, applications must be recorded on a shared and easy-to-use platform, while finally, personal data must be deleted after a month so people can rest assured and follow coronavirus prevention measures," Hung said.

Vietnam has dished out a number of applications to serve the Covid-19 fight, including the Vietnam Health Declaration app, Bluezone and NCOVI. These apps would help users submit medical declarations, record close contacts between app users and instances of them visiting public locations, among other goals.

"From now on, all medical declaration data collected from systems managed by the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control would be centralized within systems managed by the Ministry of Health and run by the Ministry of Information and Communications," the information ministry said last week.

A centralized database would help ease the deployment of comprehensive solutions for the Covid-19 fight, according to the ministry.

Contact tracing efforts could take mere hours instead of weeks with the help of technology, said Hung, adding it also helps authorities pinpoint exactly who needs to be quarantined, reducing the number of isolated cases and relieving the system burden.

"To return to normalcy, everyone needs to utilize technology," he said.

Just last week, the health ministry issued a document in which it warned people using smartphones without contact tracing apps in crowded places could be punished, even though it failed to specify exactly what the punishments might be.

Five weeks into the new wave, Vietnam has recorded as many as 4,597 local infections in 37 of its 63 cities and provinces.

Bac Giang and Bac Ninh, home to major foreign manufacturing plants, are reporting the highest numbers of infection, at 2,459 and 891.

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