Drama about the Luca app: lucky that there is a better alternative

With the Luca app, one breakdown followed the next. Last year, the “Chaos Computer Club” certified that the app’s operators had a “fundamental lack of competence and care”. The Mainz data scandal is the sad climax of the Luca drama. It’s good that there is the Corona warning app. A comment by Anna Schmid

A drama in several acts: this is how you can describe not only a classic play, but also the (mis) success story of the Luca app. Originally intended for contact tracking, the application has now fallen into disrepute.

This is also due to the latest report: The Mainz police used data from the Luca app to find witnesses for a case. The law enforcement authorities are actually not allowed to do that. Although the app operator is not to blame, the incident shows impressively how susceptible the Luca architecture is to data misuse.

And it’s also a wake-up call: After a remarkable series of breakdowns, it should be clear that the Corona warning app is now the much better – and safer – tool for combating pandemics.

The Corona warning app works anonymously, the Luca app does not

First things first: In contrast to the Luca app, the Corona warning app works completely anonymously. The tool developed by SAP and Telekom on behalf of the German government does not save any personal data. It is not possible to draw any conclusions about the name, telephone number or location of the user.

Instead, the application uses Bluetooth technology to measure the distance and duration of encounter between people who have installed the app. If a user has had contact with an infected person, the corona warning app shows them. He then has to take action himself.

The Luca app, on the other hand, has a kind of contact data management, in addition to personal data, whereabouts are also collected. In the event of infection, health authorities linked to Luca can access the data stored in the app and inform contact persons.

Corona warning app is being extended: No adjustment to Omikron planned

Chaos Computer Club spoke of “glaring flaws” in 2021

The Luca app has had a whole series of breakdowns.
The Luca app has had a whole series of breakdowns.


It is precisely this concept, or its implementation, that has repeatedly caused displeasure in the past. Experts from the “Chaos Computer Club” the immediate end of the Luca app in April of last year, shortly after the application was launched.

“In the past few weeks, glaring deficiencies in the specification, implementation and correct licensing of the Luca app have been uncovered”, they complained and attested the operators a “lack of competence and care”. IT security experts published it only a short time later an open letter, in which they advised against using the app.

After a researcher demonstrated in a YouTube video how easily attackers can access data from health authorities via the Luca app, culture4life GmbH (which is responsible for the tool) reacted. according to their own statements with app adjustments.

Downloads: Corona-Warn-App

Health authorities in Bavaria hardly use the Luca app anymore

But did the criticism ebb? No. The next setback followed in August 2021, when Berlin health authorities complained about the inability to reach Luca support.

In a report that the “Tagesspiegel” Neuk√∂lln’s health department manager Nicolai Savaskan and IT expert Mesut Yavuz ranted: “For us and our colleagues, those responsible were barely available for weeks.” The Luca app should be of help to the health authorities in particular.

Today their usefulness is more than doubtful. Research of the portal “netzpolitik.org” have shown that the authorities in Bavaria have not used the application once in the past two weeks to trace corona contacts. And an employee of the city of Rostock said “Zeit Online”: The Luca app produces “garbage data that does not help in tracking contacts”.

So the question remains: do we still need the Luca app?

Corona warning app can now read Luca codes

The answer is no. To curb the infection process, the corona warning app is a more reliable, less faulty companion. It can now even read QR codes that are actually intended for the Luca app, and vaccination and test certificates can also be saved in the app.

Yes, the application got off to a bumpy start; it was referred to as “catastrophic failure” and “toothless tiger”. But it has since proven itself. Meager 40 million The Corona warning app has already been downloaded for the first time. Projections by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) show that around five percent of corona infections were discovered through the application.

Precisely because, in contrast to the Luca app, it works independently of the already overloaded health authorities, it is of great help in breaking chains of infection. So please add an encore from the Corona warning app, the Luca app should clear the stage.

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