There’s an app developed and promoted by the Italian Ministry of Health called Immuni – but will Italians trust it?

The goal is to track and contain new COVID-19 cases.

A comment by Massimo Mantellini on Internazionale points out some concerns:

La ventilazione forzata in terapia intensiva da applicare a molte decine di pazienti contemporaneamente mal si accorderà con una meditata analisi del General data protection regulation (Gdpr) o con un interessante scontro di posizioni sul tipo di licenza open source da utilizzare per Immuni. Così come le molte ragionevoli perplessità sulla privacy dei cittadini messa a rischio non terranno conto delle ampie e ripetute lesioni di quegli stessi diritti che quei medesimi cittadini subiscono da anni nell’indifferenza generale. Improvvisamente Immuni, un’app pensata in fretta per salvarci, sarà il canestro dentro il quale osservare tutti i mali del mondo.

Of course the app is backed by the same government bringing you other “successful” apps such as IO (Just released in April. Anyone ever heard of it? It promises to digitalise all interactions with the public administration…  on paper), the same government that promises a discount for bicycles purchased after May 4th 2020 (conveniently forgetting to mention that you should also ask for an invoice, not just the receipt. No luck if the government runs out of funds first, either). All from the comfort of an app – which, by the way, the Ministry of the Environment hasn’t even developed yet.

Will Italians trust the tech side of the Immuni app?

In order for this to work, it takes a lot of trust. The app is based on contact tracing technology by one company that has a fairly good reputation regarding privacy – or at least appears to be trying hard and one that doesn’t seem to care too much about it.

But let’s assume people don’t care or understand how the data is kept private behind the scenes.

Will Italians trust the government?

They still need to trust the government. The same government that, due to a technical glitch, displayed private and sensitive data of citizens to complete strangers just weeks ago. The same government that introduced the obligatory electronic invoicing system last year, amid massive technical problems.

And I’m sure some older readers really have a special place in their hearts for a government famous for putting into action such trustworthy policies, as happend on the 10th of July 1992 when citizens woke up and wondered why they had less money on their bank account. Yes, the Italian government had the glorious idea to withdraw 6% from every bank account in Italy – the so-called “prelievo forzoso”, the forced withdrawal, over night. Just like that. Some still speculate this could happen again in the future.

So will Immuni be a success? What can possibly go wrong.