Contract extension for Luca app in Berlin under review
The Berlin Senate is currently considering whether to extend the contract with the providers of the Luca app in order to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.
Further information: Coronavirus measures
Publication date: January 13, 2022
Last updated: January 13, 2022
Current contract ends in March
The one-year contract with the app providers ends in March, the Senate Department for Health stated on Wednesday (Jan. 12, 2022) in response to a query by the German Press Agenc y(dpa). A decision on a possible contract extension has not yet been reached. That should happen soon, "after a comprehensive evaluation of the previous use and the pandemic situation". The Luca app, which has repeatedly been the subject of public controversy, is designed to help restaurant owners and event organizers complete the legally required recording of visitors' contacts without the need for paperwork. It can be linked directly to health departments.
Positive feedback so far
The Senate Department for Health gave a positive assessment of the app's use to date: "In principle, a high added value for the health offices can be assumed, and the latest system enhancements (Luca Connect) have added further features to the toolbox.". At the moment, there are no indications that the operation of the app could be prohibited for data protection reasons.
Luca app controversy
The Luca app has been the subject of public controversy for months. Most recently, criticism was sparked by an incident in Mainz, where the police, together with the public health department, used data from the app in an investigation into a fatal fall in a pub. After that, individual politicians had called for the Luca app to be deleted from mobile phones and urged the German states not to renew any expiring contracts with the provider.
The operating company Culture4life is based in Berlin. The musician Smudo from the band "Fantastische Vier" co-developed the Luca app and holds financial stakes in the company. The latter had criticized the actions of the authorities in Mainz, pointing out that they were not covered by the Infection Protection Act.