German technology company MYNXG has developed a blockchain technology to enable mobile phone tracking during the coronavirus pandemic while maintaining user privacy.

The issue of whether governments should be permitted to track individuals using smartphone data during the pandemic has been hotly debated, as although it could be useful in tracking population movement to monitor the efficacy of social distancing measures and chart the spread of the virus. However, it brings with it concerns about privacy.

On Friday, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that the use of anonymous mobile phone tracking data for “location data trend analysis” for public health purposes by the UK government would not breach privacy laws. According to The Register, Israel, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong have already begun using mobile phone data to track those with Covid-19.

Blockchain-based coronavirus tracking

MYNXG has developed an app to enable users to connect their smartphone to the MYNXG blockchain using a NFC (Near Field Communications) reader. This technology provides privacy when monitoring individual movements or alerting people if there is an infection in their contact chain.

Once a user has connected their smartphone to the MYNXG blockchain, it is possible to unlock a number of insights. Firstly, governments and medical professionals can carry out coronavirus tracking and gain insights into how the pandemic may be spreading, while the MYNXG blockchain ensures that an individual’s data is secure and no personal information is shared.

“This technology is revolutionary and years ahead of anything else,” said Bernd Moeller, founder and CEO of MYNXG.

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By GlobalData

“My entire life has been dedicated to developing mobile technology, ranging from smartphone architectures, global 4G standards to secure mobile payments. MYNXG is normally focused on developing industrial solutions, but when the first signs of the Covid-19 pandemic appeared, we checked how we could utilize our technologies to save lives.”

Secondly, the app has been designed to automatically alert users if someone in their recent contact chain has Covid-19. MYNXG also said the technology could also be used  establish “pandemic safety zones” for medical professionals, which can only be accessed with necessary approvals.

“Of course, we do understand that you can get detailed movements data through mobile operators but warning people and tracking movements will not be without significant privacy compromises,” said Mirko Schnitzler, CSO of MYNXG.

“With our technology we can create an effective warning and tracking systems without compromising privacy. We will now start working closely with selected governments and NFC infrastructure operators to accelerate the deployment of this critical infrastructure.”

Read more: UK Covid-19 symptoms mapped using health app user data.