Relaxation debate: Tax benefits for Corona app users demanded

Representatives of the government coalition continue to disagree in the debate about the intensive use of an app for digital contact tracking in the corona pandemic. While the Union parliamentary group Thorsten Frei (CDU) and SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach plead for voluntary use, the interior politician Armin Schuster (CDU) does not rule out an app requirement. The German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) wants to control access to shops or pedestrian zones via digital ticket systems.

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After the federal government decided at the weekend to implement a data protection-friendly, decentralized concept for the contact tracking app, the question still arises how the required usage can be achieved by 60 to 70 percent of the population. In this context, Frei is committed to voluntary use. "How is the police supposed to control the obligation? Should they have their cell phones shown and check whether there is an app on them?"asked Frei. Instead, he is committed to "to increase the incentive for real use of the app". The potential benefits are so high that an additional incentive could be created through a tax credit, he told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

Greens: abstruse and counterproductive suggestions

However, Schuster does not want to rule out mandatory use. If on the one hand it turns out that the app is clearly a win, on the other hand the population does not participate enough, "then the obligation as an option should at least remain in the quiver as another option of politics"Schuster told the paper. However, the data will not be passed on to the health authorities, as requested by the German district council. "The app is primarily there to send a warning to those who may have been infected", Lauterbach told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

The opposition immediately criticized Frei's proposal. Such suggestions are "somehow the crowning of the selection of abstruse and counterproductive accompanying comments from the government factions. Something harms the matter!", the green network politician Konstantin von Notz tweeted. Indeed, it is not entirely clear how the proposal will be implemented. Since the app is to be used without providing identification data such as e-mail address or telephone number, this concept would have to be abandoned when applying for tax advantages. In addition, all users who do not pay taxes would be disadvantaged. It is also unclear how one "real use" the app should be checked.

Ticket systems for shopping and restaurants

But digital solutions should not only be used for contact tracking "to keep your distance in everyday life without having to stay at home". A six-page concept paper from DIHK, which is available from, states: "You could use intelligent ticket systems to reduce queues in front of shops with restricted admission, thus distributing frequencies better and thus improving the protection of customers and employees." Such systems had already been in use in tourist centers such as Venice before the corona pandemic in order to direct large numbers of tourists.

According to the paper, stores could store data such as opening times, sales area, address in an app. "Based on this data, the maximum number of customers in a certain period of time would be calculated and corresponding tickets for a shopping period, cinema or fitness visit would be made available for booking by the customers.", the DIHK suggests. Customers should identify themselves at the shops, for example, with a QR code that is generated by the app. Such ticket systems could also be used for booking restaurant visits and hotels.

Real-time warnings of crowds

In addition, the DIHK proposes "Real-time data to equalize flows of people in public spaces" to use. As with traffic jam warnings in navigation systems, the location data of the users should be evaluated. "On the basis of such real-time information, people could also be warned via push notification on their smartphones if the density of people in a certain room is already very high and threatens to exceed the epidemiologically appropriate number", is it[calledSuchdatacouldalsobeusedtowarnofovercrowdedtrainsorbuses

Also the one planned by a consortium around Bundesdruckerei "Corona Pass" can help normalize life again. With such a passport, people could prove that they had been tested for the virus and continue to take tests. "The information is stored in a blockchain, pseudonymized and stored in a cloud in accordance with GDPR", writes the DIHK. The information could therefore be used not only in the healthcare sector, but also in business, for example when accessing workplaces, for business trips or when accessing events.

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