On the Privacy of National Contact Tracing COVID-19 Applications: The Coronavírus-SUS Case

  • Jéferson C. Nobre UFRGS
  • Laura R. Soares UFRGS
  • Briggette O. R. Huaytalla UFRGS
  • Elvandi da S. Júnior UFRGS
  • Lisandro Z. Granville UFRGS


The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the quick dissemination of the SARS-CoV-2 vírus, deeply impacted the world. The use of digital technologies has been crucial in the effort to control it, and, among others, digital contact tracing (DCT) applications stood out. DCT was successfully employed to face other infectious diseases in the past. However, its use poses several privacy concerns due to the sensitiveness of the data it handles. These concerns are even more relevant when considering nationwide implementations, despite several countries having data protection regulations in place. This article analyzes the privacy features in national DCT COVID-19 applications and their overall adhesion. As a case study, we discuss in more depth Brazil's application, Coronavírus-SUS, since Brazil is one of the most impacted countries by the pandemic. Finally, as we believe DCT will remain relevant in health-related tasks, we present key research challenges.


Use of a mobile application for Ebola contact tracing and monitoring in northern Sierra Leone: A proof-of-concept study. BMC Infectious Diseases, 19(1), sep 2019.

Yoshua Bengio, Richard Janda, YunWilliam Yu, Daphne Ippolito, Max Jarvie, Dan Pilat, Brooke Struck, Sekoul Krastev, and Abhinav Sharma. The need for privacy with public digital contact tracing during the covid-19 pandemic. The Lancet Digital Health, 2(7):e342–e344, 2020.

Alessandro Blasimme and Effy Vayena. What’s next for covid-19 apps? governance and oversight. Science, 370(6518):760–762, 2020.

European Commission. Annex iv: Inventory mobile solutions against covid-19. Available at [link]. Accessed on 2020/12/31.

Google. Exposure notifications: Helping fight covid-19. Available at https://www.google.com/covid19/exposurenotifications/. Accessed on 2020/12/31.

Douglas J Leith and Stephen Farrell. Gaen due diligence: Verifying the google/apple covid exposure notification api. CoronaDef21, Proceedings of NDSS ‘21, 2021, 2020.

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office. Upcoming legislative provisions for usage of data from digital contact tracing solutions. Available at [link]. Accessed on 2021/08/26.

World Healh Organization. Coronavirus disease (covid-19) advice for the public. Available at [link]. Accessed on 2021/08/24.
NOBRE, Jéferson C.; SOARES, Laura R.; HUAYTALLA, Briggette O. R.; S. JÚNIOR, Elvandi da; GRANVILLE, Lisandro Z.. On the Privacy of National Contact Tracing COVID-19 Applications: The Coronavírus-SUS Case. In: ESCOLA REGIONAL DE REDES DE COMPUTADORES (ERRC), 19. , 2021, Charqueadas/RS. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2021 . p. 115-120. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/errc.2021.18552.