Hamburg acquires licence for "Luca" contact tracing app

City relying on QR codes to relieve workload in health offices
13 April 2021

The City of Hamburg has acquired a licence for the Luca contact tracing app to register contacts swiftly amid the ongoing pandemic. Hopes are now high that QR codes will ease the workload on health authorities. Dataport, an IT service provider, now seeks to adapt the app for use by health offices in Hamburg. Developed by the singer Smudo and member of "Die Fantastischen Vier" band, the cultural sphere and the Federal Printing Office, users store their data in the app and click on the QR-code to check in e.g., at a restaurant.

App to speed up contact tracing

"The era of registering contacts on paper is finally over in Hamburg! We welcome the senate's announcement that the Luca app will speed up contact tracing by the health authorities and offer entrepreneurs a practical tool," said Dr. Malte Heyne, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg. Apart from nationwide testing and rapid vaccination, it is now important to get the app up and running quickly and to make business life possible again.

Digital instead of analogue

The Luca app should replace contacts gathered on paper hitherto e.g., in restaurants, at cultural and sporting events as well as in nursing homes and retail. In the event of an infection and following the user's approval, Luca forwards data on a person's whereabouts over the previous 14 days to the appropriate health office. The public health department then contacts any affected venues and requests the release of all check-ins at the time in question to the Luca system. The data needed to trace infection chains are then available digitally, which saves vital time. The app is free of charge for users and their data remains anonymous, said the developers. The Luca system provides end-to-end encryption and stores the data in Germany.

Several German states already using app

The contract for the Luca app was awarded by Dataport on behalf of ten federal states, including Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, in accordance with the German Ministry of Economics and Technology regulations on public procurement law (March 19, 2020). Dataport concludes the contract between the states and the provider "culture4life".