Covid-19: Parliament strengthens protection of contact tracing data

On November 5, 2021, the National Assembly definitively adopted the “health surveillance” bill, led by the government and rejected en masse by the Senate, which is dominated by the right. In addition to the extension of the health pass, this text regulates the services offered to health professionals and laboratories to simplify the collection and transmission of the results of the Covid-19 detection test.

A list of authorized providers

In detail, the services offered must “strictly guarantee the security, integrity and confidentiality of the data processed” under the conditions established by an order from the Ministry of Health. Only services that adhere to these terms and conditions will be able to connect to the archives to collect and transmit medical results. The list of authorized service providers will be made public.

The supply or use of non-guaranteed devices will be penalized with “5 years in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros,” the article adds.

Two databases to facilitate contact tracing

As a reminder, to simplify contact tracing, the government has created two databases, “SI-DEP” and “Contact Covid.” The SI-DEP (DEPistage Information System) is a secure platform where the results of Covid-19 testing laboratories are systematically recorded. Ensures that all positive cases are taken care of.

For its part, the “Covid Contact” file is dedicated to health professionals (doctors, pharmacists, laboratory biologists and professionals authorized by the National Health Insurance Fund). It allows to go faster in the identification of people with contact cases to verify that all have been called, informed, tested and supported.

However, some service providers offer services to simplify the collection and transmission of this information. Problem: “some IT solutions do not provide a sufficient level of security” and “can lead to particularly sensitive data breaches,” say MPs.

70,000 test results displayed on the Internet

They refer to the recent exposure of a database containing 70,000 Covid test results with contact details of the affected people. This information would have been freely accessible for several months due to a security breach in the Francetest platform, Mediapart revealed in a survey published on August 31, 2021. This platform offers a service that facilitates the transfer of test results to the file YES. DEP against one euro per transmission.

Upon receiving a report, the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (Cnil) gave a formal notice in October 2021 to the company Francetest, publisher of the platform, to ensure the health data it collects on behalf of pharmacies.

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