An application for the diagnosis of coronavirus has been launched in Iran. But as Internet activists found out, it monitors users in real time, but cannot help diagnose the disease.
The VICE publication says that in early March, most of the Iranian population received a newsletter from the country’s Ministry of Health, in which they were asked to install the AC19 application. Authorities noted that this will determine whether a person or his loved ones has a coronavirus. To do this, they had to pass a special survey.
“Dear compatriots, before you go to a hospital or a medical center, install and use this software to determine if you or your loved ones are infected with a coronavirus”, the message said. At the end there was a link to download the application.
Internet activists later said the application would not be able to determine if users had a coronavirus. However, it collects a huge amount of data about citizens, including names, addresses, dates of birth, and can track their location in real time.
How many people have downloaded the AC19 application is not fully known. However, on March 11, Iran’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology Mohammad Jawad Azari Jahromi published a map on Twitter, where dots indicate the location of about three million users of the application.
On March 14, nearly 100 people died from coronavirus in Iran. Since February 19, 611 people from more than 12.7 thousand infected have become victims, said Advisor to the Minister of Health of Iran Ali Reza Wahabzadeh.