When the StopCovid contact-tracing app was unveiled in France at the beginning of June, its rollout had already been hampered by problems and setbacks. The release had been delayed by nearly a month, and its launch was met with widespread concerns that the Bluetooth technology on which the app relied was too imprecise in some situations, and completely unusable in others. The app couldn’t work in the background, it drained smartphone batteries and it wouldn’t operate with tracing apps that other European nations were developing.
By late June, StopCovid was a confirmed flop. The app had alerted just 14 people that they had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to HuffPost France. And while nearly 2 million people, or 2% of the population, downloaded the app following its initial release, nearly half a million uninstalled it after just a few weeks.