After publishing the source code of its COVID-19 tracing app, Ireland's Health Service has now additionally donated the code to the Linux Foundation. To make it available to other governments with as little modifications as possible, the company behind the application, NearForm, has built a white-label solution called "COVID Green."
The Irish app is among the most successful and is already used by more than 25% of the Irish population, much like Germany's equally open-source Corona Warn App. Unlike England's failed attempt at a centralized tracing app, it's based on Google's and Apple's privacy-minding Bluetooth tracking technology. A central server is only used to distribute warning messages if you come in contact with somebody who has tested positively by matching anonymized keys stored on your phone.
The white-label COVID Green app should allow other governments to easily build their own tracing apps based on NearForm's privacy-minding solution without having to rip apart Ireland-specific customizations. Hopefully, this will accelerate the development of COVID-19 tracing apps worldwide, as many countries and territories are still struggling to build their own.
Tracing is just one small part of the equation, though, and apps like these need to be distributed to about 60% of a population to be really effective, so it's unfortunately not a one-stop solution to a COVID-19 free world.