Digital travel certificate: how does CovidReader, the police application work?

The digital travel certificate device to leave the home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic works as a duo, on the side of the police, with an application capable of reading QR Codes called CovidReader. How is an inspection carried out? Does the policeman keep information on his tablet or smartphone? Does it send the data to a server? Explanations.

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On April 6, 2020, the government put a website online to generate a digital derogatory travel certificate. It looks like the paper certificate in every way, with one exception: a QR Code that the police can scan so they don’t have to touch your smartphone.

How does the process work on the law enforcement side? Has the government’s promise not to centralize information been kept? This is what we will see.

Rendering of a QR code on the certificate

How does CovidReader, the law enforcement application work?

The first point to underline concerns the transparency of the QR Code generated on the certificate is readable in clear. This means that with a QR code reader app (often your camera’s native app does) you can see what the gendarme or police officer is going to see on their terminal. Perform the test: only the information transmitted on the screen that is displayed is sent. Even the time stamp, which prevents falsifying a certificate hastily by spotting a control, is visible.

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For their part, the police have access to an application called CovidReader, as the Ministry of the Interior confirmed to us by email. It is installed on so-called “Neo” devices, smartphones and tablets built by Sony and running on a modified version of Android, called Secdroid. Everything has been developed, on the mobile side, by the STSI2, for the internal security technologies and information systems service.


The question that comes up most often is naturally the following: if the government has kept its word on the side of the attestation generator, is the tracking of users not done on the side of the application? Contacted by Numerama, the Interior Ministry guarantees that This is not the case : “”, We are confirmed by email.

This lack of integration and storage and sharing of information during a scan is even criticized in a forum of the Professional National Military Association Gendarmes and Citizens. “”, Can we read.

Obviously, the ministry has chosen not to base the potential of a French or a French on the digital tool. Of course, if you are not in good standing, as with any other violation, you will be fined and the fine will arrive by mail at your doorstep. This means, as is prescribed by law, that the moment you do the wrong, the officers will have a record of your ticketing. But this step is not part of itself.

What do the police see?

Our colleagues from the iGen media have obtained screenshots of the application. As we can see, its operation is summary and approaches general public applications: it reads the QR Code, displays information or returns an error if information is missing, which very simply allows a police officer to know the status of the certificate.

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