In the UK, senior sources say NHSX, the NHS’ technology arm, has been working at “breakneck speed” on a COVID-19 contract tracing app with Google and Apple. The app will use Bluetooth to alert users if they have been in close proximity with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Combined with a vast expansion in testing, which ministers claim will hit 100,000 a day by the end of the month, the app is a central plank in the government’s push to lift the lockdown. “We believe this could be important in helping the country return to normality,” a Whitehall source said.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, is considering how to incentivise people to install the app. Experts say the “track and trace” concept only works effectively if 60% of people adopt it.
One idea under consideration would mean people being told they could resume normal work and home life if they installed it on their phones.
MacDailyNews Take: As long as this UK NHS COVID-19 app can be cleanly deleted and tracking stopped by users at any time, we see no problem with having an app that allows those who want to use it to opt-in. The problem is that if it is made a requirement to be allowed to “work,” there MUST be an end date or the risk of privacy intrusion will be too high a price.
No location data is truly anonymized. It can be cross-matched with other publicly-available data to identify and track individuals. The idea of any government requiring cellphone tracking to monitor it citizens’ movements, regardless of the reason, is chilling.
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin