Still many questions, but Kamer supports ‘app law

A majority in the House of Representatives supports the law that regulates the ‘corona app’. In a parliamentary debate, many critical questions were still being asked, but it is clear that Minister De Jonge receives support from a majority.

The purpose of the corona app is that people receive a message if they have been in the vicinity of someone infected with the corona virus. This should prevent further spread of the virus. The app is being tested on a large scale and Minister De Jonge has come up with a bill to introduce the system nationwide.

Lack of testing

Many parties stressed that it is a good idea to use digital means to spread the pandemic, but almost the entire House is also concerned about the lack of testing. “What should people do, who are notified via the app that they have been in the vicinity of an infected person and have no complaints of their own?” many Members of Parliament wonder.

Minister De Jonge said again yesterday that in principle only people with complaints should be tested, because there is not enough capacity to do more now. Many Members of Parliament said in the debate that the app should not lead to people with an app being able to get tested and people without an app not being able to get tested.

In this video we explain how the app works:

Safeguards against abuse

The vast majority of the House of Representatives appreciates the legal safeguards in the law to prevent abuse of the app: participation is not mandatory and people should not be pressured into participating. Part of the House of Representatives wants even stricter safeguards in that respect. This should prevent employers or sports clubs, for example, from encouraging employees or members to download the app.

The House of Representatives underlined that ‘human’ source and contact research remains important and should be further developed. There are also still many critical comments about the potentially large number of ‘false positive reports’ and about the agreements with Google and Apple on the use of the data, which some believe to be too meagre.

The size of the majority that De Jonge supports is not yet clear. But apart from the governing parties, at least the PvdA and SGP seem to vote in favour of the law. The PvdA gives the cabinet “the benefit of the doubt”.

The Upper House also has yet to support the law

Some parties doubt and PVV, Party for the Animals, Forum for Democracy and Van Haga are murderers against the law. The PVV first wants more research into the effectiveness of the app. As long as that is not done, the party will not support the law. Forum for Democracy thinks the app is an “absurd idea that will never work”. According to Forum there are all kinds of technical objections and privacy is also at stake. The Party for the Animals argues that the app is too hasty and disproportionate.

If the House of Representatives has accepted the law, the Senate still has to deal with it. It was previously intended that the law would enter into force on 1 September, but that will not be achieved.