Britain, the new virus epicentre in Europe, launches contact tracing app

NHSX contact-tracing app reportedly failed cyber security tests

Council and healthcare workers will be the first to try the app, which contacts people to let them know if they've been in close proximity to someone who's tested positive for coronavirus.

The NHS is scheduled to begin testing the in-house contact tracing solution as part of wider efforts to monitor and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Privacy campaigners are calling on the Government to op for a more private and secure de-centralised model before rolling the app out across the UK.


The news comes as NHS sources pushed back at reports that its developers were already building a second version of the app in case ministers made a decision to change tack.

"An app that tracks your location constantly, being fed into a centralised server for anyone else to see, is a massive privacy violation".

It's worth considering that with so many people around the country and worldwide interested in the App, it's quite possible that many outside the Isle of Wight are also likely to be downloading it.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said residents on the Isle of Wight had "huge enthusiasm" for the trial.

The daily increase in deaths is lower than at any point since the end of March, but the figures reported at the weekend tend to be lower and are expected to rise, Mr Hancock said.

"The exact advice on what you should do will depend on the evolving context and approach", the NHS has said.

He said that to get the epidemic under control and escape lockdown it will be necessary to have contact tracing and continued social distancing for the time being.

As of Thursday, the ICO has still not received an impact assessment even as trials have expanded to members of the public residing on the Isle of Wight.

"So, what I'm pushing the Government to say is you are going to have to have the traditional way of tracing as well, which is doing it more manually - phoning people, etc, etc".

This is different to the "decentralised" model used by Apple and Google, where the matches take place on users' handsets.

"We remain concerned that the Government is using the coronavirus pandemic to normalise technologies that threaten our privacy rights, and which the public would not accept in ordinary circumstances", she said. Any further information will be recorded only if users opt-in to provide additional data.



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