The COVID-19 epidemic continues to worsen, and Germany has to impose a “hard lockdown” since December 16. Some German media reporters lamented that Germany ignored East Asia’s successful anti-epidemic experience, and the digital construction of health institutions was backward, and the virus tracking APP software was also restricted by “protection of privacy” and paid a “high price”.
She called for an end to “arrogance and double standards” and “protecting lives in a pandemic is more important than protecting data.”
Astrid Prange, a reporter of Deutsche Welle, described on the 20th that this winter, while the number of coronavirus infections in Germany is increasing and people are busy shopping online for Christmas, the country’s health institutions are still using fax machines to receive laboratory coronavirus test reports.
She described the reality as “incredible”: many German public health departments have not adopted digital systems so far. The use of new technologies to track the epidemic is not effective.
And this has something to do with Germany’s “mechanical emphasis on personal data privacy”.
In June this year, the German government launched Corona-Warn, a mobile phone software designed to let people share test results and provide coronavirus warning.
Three months after its implementation, it was embarrassing to find that “no one is useless”. As of mid-September, the app had more than 18 million downloads in Germany, but only 750,000 people shared their test results, accounting for 9% of the total population.
Germany, like many EU countries, prohibits the centralized storage of personal data on the grounds of protecting privacy. Therefore, all data of the APP is encrypted and saved on the user’s mobile phone.
Third parties, including government health agencies, do not want to get information unless users share it voluntarily.
While millions of Germans disdain the government’s coronavirus warning app, they provide their data to Internet giants such as Facebook, Amazon, Instagram and Twitter for free every day.
Planger believes that the backwardness of digital technology and “mechanical” data protection will threaten lives during the epidemic and make Germany pay a “high price”.
Taking South Korea and others as an example, she said that one of the “secrets of success” in Asia’s fight against the epidemic is “digital monitoring”. At present, more than 1.5 million people in Germany have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 26,000 people have died, more than 30 times that of South Korea. Germany expects economic growth to be -5.5% this year, and South Korea is -1%.
It must be mentioned that the German journalist deserves to be regarded as a “model” country and region, including South Korea, Taiwan of China and Singapore, but there is no mainland China.
Planger said she could no longer stand Germany’s double standards in dealing with the digital system and the arrogance on wearing masks.” Don’t want to discuss data protection and watch Germany fall into lockdown and the livelihoods of millions are destroyed.” Compared with the large-scale popularization of masks in East Asia at the beginning of the epidemic, German scientists were also skeptical about the protective function of masks at that time.
She called on Germany to “stop arrogance”, “say goodbye to Europe as central and self-righteous attitudes” and learn from the epidemic, including “protecting lives first over protecting data”.
Coincidentally, the Süddeutsche Zeitänder also published an article by German journalist Doibel on the 12th, “What can we learn from Asia”. The author said that in many Asian countries, short-term restrictions on freedom and data protection have not been politicized, and most people voluntarily comply with epidemic prevention requirements.
On the contrary, some Europeans “conflate freedom with selfishness, put their needs above the lives of others” and “reflexively arrogant” towards Asia’s successful anti-epidemic experience. The author calls for “a new and open view of Asia”.