Source code of Covid Tracker Ireland app goes global with Linux project

20 Jul 20205.02k Views

The Covid Tracker Ireland app. Image: Luke Maxwell/Siliconrepublic.com

The Linux Foundation Public Health initiative has chosen the Covid Tracker Ireland app as one of its first two open-source Covid-19 projects.

Since its launch, more than 1.3m people have downloaded the Covid Tracker Ireland app, which was developed to help track the future spread of the coronavirus. Now, the app has been chosen as one of the first two open-source contact-tracing projects by the newly established Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) initiative.

Nearform, the Waterford-based company that developed the app with the HSE, has been made one of the initiative’s seven premium members, along with Cisco, Doc.ai, Geometer, IBM, Tencent and VMware.

Under the project name ‘Covid Green’, the source code of the Irish app is being made available for other public health authorities and their developers across the world to use and customise. As part of the agreement, Nearform will manage the source code repository on GitHub.

In its announcement, the LFPH pointed to the “extraordinarily high” adoption rate of the Covid Tracker Ireland app.

‘An architecture for global collaboration’

Commenting on the news, the HSE’s CIO, Fran Thompson, said: “We’re immensely proud of the work we’ve undertaken in partnership with Nearform in responding to the pandemic.

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“We are looking forward to collaborating with other public health authorities around the world via LFPH to assist them in quickly replicating our approach while learning from their experiences.”

The other project being released by the LFPH is Covid Shield, an exposure notification tool developed by a volunteer team at Shopify, which is in the process of being deployed in Canada and several US states.

The Linux Foundation’s executive director, Jim Zemlin, said LFPH can be an important tool in addressing “this grave global crisis”.

“Open source provides an architecture for global collaboration and that’s what’s needed to build, secure and sustain critical components of our stressed public health infrastructure,” he said.

The LFPH said that it will initially focus on apps that have followed the decentralised model built on the Exposure Notification API developed jointly by Google and Apple. Unlike a centralised model where user data is stored on a central server controlled by a government or health authority, a decentralised model keeps limited user data stored on a person’s own device.

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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