Luca app operators put program code online

There is loud criticism of the Luca app. Now the operators are going on the offensive, putting the program code online and defending themselves against accusations from data protectionists.

The Luca app is used in many places, including this department store on Alexanderplatz in Berlin.

Dhe developers of the Luca app have fully published the source code of their system for corona contact tracking under an open source license. The code of the two app versions (Android and iOS) and the back-end system has been available on the Gitlab platform since Wednesday evening. It can now be checked by independent bodies. Culture-4-Life GmbH, the company behind the Luca system, said they wanted to enable transparent analysis and further development of the software.

Company boss Patrick Hennig said that it was also about “generating a high level of trust in security among all those involved and interested users”. The method also ensures that the source code can be tested often and potential problems can be identified quickly.

Luca operators defend themselves against criticism

The makers of the Luca app simultaneously rejected several points of criticism from the hacker association Chaos Computer Club (CCC), which on Wednesday demanded that tax money no longer be spent on the app for corona contact tracking. Club spokesman Linus Neumann had spoken of a “continuous series of security problems” with the Luca system.

The app developer admitted that there was a weak point in the Luca key fob, which has since been eliminated. In addition, the protection of the contact data was guaranteed all along.

At the same time, Hennig rejected the CCC’s accusation that the Luca system was potentially able to uniquely identify individual devices at any time and to assign all check-ins to them. “From our point of view, the fundamental criticism is central data storage systems, which, by the way, are used in many areas of social life such as telecommunications providers, credit card companies and also in the health sector.” Accordingly, these systems must be protected against misuse. “This is the case with the Luca system.”

The Luca app, for which hip-hop singer Smudo from the “Fantastischen Vier” had advertised, is used in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Berlin, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Saarland, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt and Hamburg financed from tax revenues. According to research by the Netzpolitik.org portal, the funds used add up to a total of 20 million euros. This money will be used for the development of the app, the connection of the health authorities and the SMS service to validate the telephone numbers of the users.