Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions aims to clarify the most common doubts users might have about the STAYAWAY COVID application. If you still have questions after reading this FAQ, please contact us via email: stayaway@inesctec.pt.

The Frequently Asked Questions focus on identifying and clarifying the most common doubts about the STAYAWAY COVID application. If you still have doubts after reading this set of questions, please contact us via email: stayaway@inesctec.pt.

Common issues

First, you should check that you have the latest version of the STAYAWAY COVID application. You can do it by visiting the Google Play Store app. If you do not have the latest version, please install it and restart your phone. Whenever you restart your device, please make sure to launch the STAYAWAY COVID at least once, in order to resume normal operation.

Next, make sure that the Exposure Notifications are active. You can find this option in the device settings.

Finally, and if the problem persists, please consider the following information. Most Android devices have battery saving mechanisms that sometimes prevent some applications from running properly. More specifically, these mechanisms can affect applications that, similarly to STAYAWAY COVID, need to run in the background. STAYWAY COVID identifies these mechanisms and tries to help the user disabling them. However, some manufacturers have their own different mechanisms for implementing battery saving. On phone models from said manufacturers, the user must manually disable these mechanisms.

In this sense, and depending on your device, step 1 should solve the problem. If step 1 is not enough, you should follow steps 2 and 3 – for Samsung devices, you should also follow step 4:

  1. Add STAYAWAY COVID to the list of applications that are not optimised or allowed to run in the background.
  2. Access your device’s battery settings and disable all energy saving levels for STAYAWAY COVID.
  3. Access your device’s battery settings and enable the “Allow to run in background” option.
  4. Turn off “Ultra Power Saving Mode” for STAYAWAY COVID on Samsung devices.

 

If none of these actions work, you should look for the specific battery saving settings on your device. Some applications, like Slack, have compiled guidelines for solving these type of issue. In https://slack.com/intl/pt-br/help/articles/360001562747-Problemas-conhecidos-com-notificados-do-Android you can find instructions for different devices and operating systems. When you follow them, please replace “Slack” with “STAYAWAY COVID”.

 

For technical support, please contact stayaway@inesctec.pt

First, you should check that you have the latest version of the STAYAWAY COVID application. You can do it by visiting the Google Play Store (Android) or the App Store (iOS). If you do not have the latest version, please install it. After the update, it may take 24 hours until the app starts operating as normal.

If the app keeps failing to update the risk verification, please consider the following instructions.

For technical support, please contact stayaway@inesctec.pt 

In order to enable monitoring, it is necessary to associate the Exposure Notifications with STAYAWAY COVID. On some iOS devices, Exposure Notifications are not activated automatically, and you need to activate them manually. You can find this option on the Exposure Notifications settings, by selecting the menu of the Directorate-General of Health, activating the option “Share exposure information” and clicking on “Define as active region”.

If these steps do not solve the issue, please consider the following instructions:

iOS 13.7 / 14

  1. Settings> General> Reset> Reset location and Privacy
  2. Launch the STAYAWAY COVID and activate the permission to access Exposure Notifications

 

iOS 14-  after the update

  1. Settings> Wi-Fi> Turn off Wi-Fi
  2. Settings> Exposure Notifications> Active Region ‘Directorate-General of Health’> Directorate-General of Health > Turn ‘Share exposure information’ off and on and click ‘Set as active region’
  3. Settings> Wi-Fi> Turn on Wi-Fi
  4. If the problem continues, please uninstall and install the application. It may take 24 hours until the app starts operating as normal.

The STAYAWAY COVID application was developed for the iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) operating systems, covering the vast majority of smartphone users.

Moreover, STAYAWAY COVID relies on the “Exposure Notification” API developed by Apple and Google to make contact tracing apps safe and effective while i) enabling the app to run without constraints when operating in the background, ii) ensure the interoperability between applications on different operating system, and iii) ensure the interoperability with applications from other EU countries.

The operative systems’ versions that include the “Exposure Notification” API are:

  • Android: 6.0 (Marshmallow) or greater versions;
  • iOS: 13.5 or greater

Currently, only Android devices with access to Google “Play Services” include the aforementioned API. Several Huawei models are excluded from this set. Concerning Huawei devices without Google “Play Services”, users will not be able to activate tracing; in addition, when looking for the app on the App Gallery, the device will identify the STAYAWAY COVID app as incompatible, and therefore will not present it for download.

We are aware that Huawei is currently developing services compatible with Apple and Google “Exposure Notification” API, and soon all models will be able to run the STAYAWAY COVID app. Please keep checking Huawei news regarding this question.

Here is a list of models that have been reported as not including Google “Play Services”: Huawei P40 Pro +, Huawei P40 Pro, Huawei P40, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei Mate 30, Huawei P40 Lite, Huawei P40 Lite E, Huawei Mate Xs, Huawei P Smart S, Huawei Y6p, Huawei Y5p.

The STAYAWAY COVID application was developed for the iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) operating systems, covering the vast majority of smartphone users.

Moreover, STAYAWAY COVID relies on the “Exposure Notification” API developed by Apple and Google to make contact tracing apps safe and effective while i) enabling the app to run without constraints when operating in the background, ii) ensure the interoperability between applications on different operating system, and iii) ensure the interoperability with applications from other EU countries.

The operative systems’ versions that include the “Exposure Notification” API are:

  • Android: 6.0 (Marshmallow) or greater versions;
  • iOS: 13.5 or greater

Currently, only Android devices with access to Google “Play Services” include the aforementioned API. Several Huawei models are excluded from this set. Concerning Huawei devices without Google “Play Services”, users will not be able to activate tracing; in addition, when looking for the app on the App Gallery, the device will identify the STAYAWAY COVID app as incompatible, and therefore will not present it for download.

We are aware that Huawei is currently developing services compatible with Apple and Google “Exposure Notification” API, and soon all models will be able to run the STAYAWAY COVID app. Please keep checking Huawei news regarding this question.

Here is a list of models that have been reported as not including Google “Play Services”: Huawei P40 Pro +, Huawei P40 Pro, Huawei P40, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei Mate 30, Huawei P40 Lite, Huawei P40 Lite E, Huawei Mate Xs, Huawei P Smart S, Huawei Y6p, Huawei Y5p.

Contact tracing

Since there is still no consolidated experience with these types of applications, there is no conclusive answer to this question.

Several international scientific panels (e.g. eHealthNetwork) have assessed the potential advantages and disadvantages of the approach, thus informing policy-makers in several countries inside and outside the European Union.

Political decisions made in the vast majority of European countries have focused on launching this type of applications, taking into account the potential benefits in controlling the pandemic.

Portugal has also made a decision in this regard, which leads us to the following question.

The STAYAWAY COVID system adopts the solution recommended by the DP^3T initiative, which is ruled by the principles of protection of individual privacy, advocated by a wide range of international researchers, in April 2020.

Since March, INESC TEC has been participating in the DP^3T, a European initiative that has developed and proposed a solution for digital contact tracing, which is now crucial to the systems of nearly all European countries, as well as to the “Exposure Notification” module, available on Android and iOS mobile operating systems.

As an Associate Laboratory and public utility institution, INESC TEC’s mission includes the active development of solutions to the country’s social and economic challenges, and the contribution to the definition and adoption of public policies. Therefore,  besides having some of its research staff involved in the development of the DP^3T protocol, INESC TEC has taken on  the development of a complete system that could be deployed and operationalised as a national digital tracing solution for COVID-19.

Thus, the STAYAWAY COVID system emerged based on the DP^3T protocol, ruled by the principles of voluntary use, protection of individual privacy and no collection of personal information.

Once the system was proven ready for deployment, the Portuguese Government decided to adopt the system nationwide.

Actions that users can take

You just need to install the STAYAWAY COVID application, available on the Apple’s App Store, for mobile phones using the iOS operating system, and on the Google Play Store, for mobile phones using Android.

The healthcare authorities that monitor you after a positive diagnosis will provide a code that you must insert in the application. Only then, will the app have access to the information about your status change, and be able to notify those who were close to you. This code will be valid for 24 hours, without ever disclosing your identity.

The protocol established by the DGS determines that only the SNS doctor responsible for monitoring the case should provide the code introduced in the STAYAWAY COVID app by users with a positive diagnosis.

When the test is performed by an SNS entity, the doctor responsible for monitoring the patient, has access to the diagnosis and the STAYAWAY COVID code. Whenever the test is carried out in a laboratory that is not part of the SNS, the STAYAWAY COVID code may not be communicated along with the test result. The positive results are communicated (mandatory by law) to the SNS, who will assign a doctor to monitor the patient. Said doctor contacts the patient and provides the STAYAWAY COVID code. In either case, the patient may request information regarding the STAYAWAY COVID code through the e-mail address atendimento@sns24.gov.pt, explaining why he/she is contacting the SNS.

No. The introduction of the code is voluntary. However, it is important to emphasise that your anonymous role in fighting against the spread of this virus is crucial to all of us.

App operation

The use of the “Exposure Notification” (EN) features of the operating system does not require or use the GPS interface. The request made by Android is incorrect, and a reason for concern in all applications that use EN. Google is aware of the problem but adds that “it is a limitation of the operating system itself”. In Android, the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) service is connected to the “Location services” and they must be activated in order to use it.

Yes, in order to work the application requires Bluetooth to be on. However, the app uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which, as the name suggests, requires less energy than the regular Bluetooth we use to connect our device to speakers, headphones or the car’s stereo.

The app requires a periodic access to an official and public server (please see question “Is any data made available online?” – section “Data security and privacy”). This can be done via Wi-Fi or mobile data.

The assessment relies on state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, in line with recommendations from the  healthcare authorities. To date, being with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for approximately 15 minutes, at a distance less than two meters, can significantly increase the likelihood of contagion. Should these precautionary measures be reviewed by healthcare authorities, the application will be adjusted accordingly.

No, the STAYAWAY COVID issues the warning locally i.e. your app will alert you, informing you that you have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. No external entity knows the identity of the user or his/her mobile phone number; therefore, said entities are unable to send notifications, either via text message or via any alternative means. Furthermore, no external entity has the information required to assess the user’s risk of contagion, as the data is stored exclusively on the user’s mobile phone.

Yes. After your recovery and on your return to  daily life, you will need to reinstall the STAYAWAY COVID application in order to restart the monitoring process.

No. The app’s effectiveness is proportional to its use. The more people we have using the app, the more likely will asymptomatic people have access to a quick diagnosis.

The STAYAWAY COVID application was developed exclusively for the iOS, from Apple, and Android, from Google, operating systems and depends specifically on the Exposure Notifications API of the two companies. As such, the app is only compatible with Android versions equal to or greater than version 6.0 (Marshmallow) and iOS equal to or greater than version 13.5.

No. The expected behaviour of the application is to remain active, even if you restart your device. However, we recommend that you open the application in order to ensure that you get notifications on time.

The application receives notifications even when running in the background, or even when you restart your device. However, in specific cases, restarting the device may prevent the application from running in the background. Therefore, we recommend that you launch the application after restarting the phone, thus ensuring that the application is active.

No, only smartphone devices are supported.

Data security and privacy

No. The system only uses numbers generated randomly by the application installed on the mobile phone. The system does not ask for and does not know any personal data on your mobile phone, such as name, address, identification numbers, addresses or username for digital systems, social networking applications, etc.

No computer system is perfect; therefore, the question should be: how does the STAYAWAY COVID application minimise the risks to my privacy?

The STAYAWAY COVID application adopts the DP^3T protocol (which differs conceptually and architecturally from systems adopted outside Europe), in order to ensure the maximum privacy of users and guarantee their control over their own personal information.

The adoption of this protocol by several European countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Denmark, etc., is a good sign, since it shows that there is no evidence of significant risks until now.

Moreover, the operation of the STAYAWAY COVID system follows the good practices adopted by the partners of the DP^3T initiative, and closely monitors the evolution of solutions implemented in other countries, with the management of potential security and privacy issues, according to what is being done internationally.

Yes, under the legal terms an AIPD was carried out. Its current version can be found here.

The system was subjected to a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), regularly reviewed, and submitted to prior consultation by the National Data Protection Authority (CNPD), whose recommendations will be followed. All source code developed was audited by the National Cybersecurity Center (CNCS) and is publicly available.

Yes. When diagnosed with COVID-19, the user is asked to provide the random numbers that he/she broadcast over the previous 14 days. This process is done online via the STAYAWAY COVID app, and the random numbers are stored on an official and public server – hosted by the Portuguese Mint and Official Printing Office. The data is entirely anonymous, unrelated to the mobile phones or their users.

The only data handled by the system are the random identifiers generated by mobile phones. This data is stored on mobile phones that are close enough to collect them, for a maximum period of 14 days. No data collected by the mobile phone ever leaves the device. Therefore, the data collected is not stored on any server or database. The data generated, in the case of a positive diagnosis to COVID-19, may be made available online, on an official and public server of the system, for a maximum period of 14 days (previous question).

The system was designed to preserve the users’ anonymity. The data broadcast and received by mobile phones, as well as the data that might be shared online, are random numbers generated by the STAYAWAY COVID app, completely unrelated to the users.

Yes. The application will delete the data stored on mobile phones after a maximum period of 14 days; all data will be deleted when the application is uninstalled. Similarly, online data will be deleted after a maximum period of 14 days. The entire system will be suspended when the end of the pandemic is officially declared in Portugal. The 14-day period corresponds to the maximum incubation period of the disease, according to healthcare authorities’ most up-to-date information. This period determines the limits to the application’s operation. Should healthcare authorities revise such information, the application will be adjusted accordingly.

It is highly unlikely due to the security by design development of the STAYAWAY COVID application; yet, it is not impossible.

The application establishes connections and transmits data on two separate occasions and, on each occasion, there are ways of identifying the mobile phone or user for malicious purposes. Whenever users enable tracking, the application broadcasts random numbers that are anonymous and decontextualized. However, if a context is maliciously created in which, in addition to receiving data broadcast by an unofficial application, the identity of the mobile phone or user is simultaneously registered by any other means or device, then the association between anonymous data and the mobile phone or its user can be established.

However, if the collection of data broadcast by an unofficial application concurs with the registration of the identity of the mobile phone or its user (by any other medium or device), one could associate the said anonymous data with the device or its user for malicious purposes. The second possibility is when the application connects to the official and public server, in order to provide the random numbers broadcast over the previous 14 days. As in all current computer systems, online communications leave records, both on network operators and servers. Through additional external information, people can use these records to identify the device that made the connection. Portugal will host the official server, and an official institution will be responsible for the operation, according to the paramount European security and privacy practices.

The only relevant processing is the one that the application carries out on each mobile phone. This process includes the cross-checking of online data and the random numbers that each user’s mobile phone collected over the previous 14 days. Online data, like all other data handled by the application, are devoid of information. The information we focus on is only available through the cross-checking of data stored exclusively on mobile phones.

Interoperability and compatibility

Yes, the application uses the “Exposure Notification” API from Google and Apple.

STAYAWAY COVID aims to interoperate with the largest number of COVID-19 digital tracing initiatives, both inside and outside Europe. Those responsible for its design and development are working in liaison with the different European countries that are developing similar applications.
This way, it should be possible to cross the data collected by the application with that provided online by any of those countries. STAYAWAY COVID must work whenever a person living in Portugal moves to another European country, and vice versa, i.e., the application installed by any European citizen must also work in Portugal.

Relationship of the application with the disease

Absolutely not. No prevention or mitigation action is 100% effective. However, adopting several precautions (proper hygiene, respiratory/cough etiquette, physical distancing, etc.) will contribute to stop the spread of the virus.
This means that we need to reduce our individual capacity to “replicate the disease”, i.e., the average number of people we infect from the time we become infectious until our full recovery. With COVID-19, we are estimated to be infectious agents for an average of 10 days. We may not even  display any symptoms for some time, but 44% of infections occur exactly when we are still asymptomatic! It is precisely in this period that the use of digital tracing through this application is so important in order to reduce the said percentage.

Go to Top