Experts speak on Sanad privacy concerns after latest defense order

(Photo: Jordan news)
AMMAN — The government’s e-service gateway application Sanad is gaining more attention after the latest defense order mandating that businesses check customers’ statuses on the app before allowing them to enter.اضافة اعلان

However, privacy experts who spoke with Jordan News said that the potential harm of the application’s ability to access users’ private information is not much more than that of other applications. 

Riham Haddad, an information technology expert and ITGS teacher at some private schools, said that whenever you install the Sanad application on your phone, you are asked to scan your ID. 

And while this may raise some privacy concerns with some people, “the good point is that according to the user’s legal rights for this application you get to know that this application has the right to access your camera, audio, and video files, and others — you can easily prevent it from accessing this information through your phone’s settings,” Haddad said.

She said that this application has the right to access your location as well, and determine precisely where you are at any moment.

“Just like with any other application, as a user you have to know how to deal with it, be aware of the security threat it possess, and how to minimize the security breaches. You can easily disable the access to the information you do not want them to access,” Haddad said. 

Mohammad Hamdan, another IT expert, said that the government aims through this application to control the health situation in Jordan, not spy on people — “so there is no need to be afraid.”

“Besides, we all install and use many different social media applications that may impinge on our privacy much more than this application does. We must trust our government, at least in light of the global pandemic that the government is working tirelessly to control,” Hamdan said.

He said that all applications can access files on mobile phones. “If you are concerned about the security threats you have to be aware of all the applications you install on your phone and read the terms and conditions for each and every application,” Hamdan said 

The problem isn’t with applications, he noted, it is with users who do not read the terms and conditions of applications they install on their mobile devices. 
Application designers let users know about their terms of service upfront, and cannot be prosecuted because a user did not read those terms, he said. 

Shorouq Hilal, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, told Jordan News that a new version of Sanad application will be released very soon. “in the latest version, anyone can access Sanad application, even non-Jordanians.”

Hilal “promised” that the new version would be “very satisfying for everyone”. “It will be user friendly with aims to help anyone to use the application in a very easy way,” she said.

“Programers work on it tirelessly every day. If anyone finds a problem in accessing the application they should not hesitate calling us and telling us about the problem. This application is made for everyone, and throughout it they can complete government transactions easily and quickly,” Hilal said.

The latest defense order obligates malls, restaurants, cafes, hotels, and other private sector establishments to not allow anyone to enter unless they are allowed to in accordance with the Sanad application. In addition to showing who has been fully vaccinated and who hasn’t, the application shows if a person has taken the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or has had a negative PCR test in the last 72 hours.

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