Paul van Gerven
23 April 2020

In a letter to parliament (link in Dutch), Dutch engineering society KIVI advocates starting a foundation to oversee the development of a corona tracking app. KIVI argues that the app itself is secondary to the complex system underneath it, and designing that system requires expertise from a range of scientific disciplines. Apart from getting the technology right, there are also legal, epidemiological and societal issues to address. No single company could cover all those aspects, and therefore a foundation should be set up in which relevant disciplines can join forces.

KIVI’s plea follows a hastily government-organized appathon, which is generally considered a failure. This comes as no surprise to the engineering society because the core system and required procedures haven’t been worked out yet. Currently, there are too many uncertainties to do that properly anyway, KIVI notes. Besides, the Dutch government would do well not to proceed unilaterally and instead connect with international developments.