Uk Covid app blocked by Apple and Google for breaking data sharing rules. According to BBC reports the UK government’s COVID-19 contact tracing app was found breaching privacy terms.
According to the plan before the national lockdown was lifted users who tested positive were supposed to upload logs of venue check-ins carried out via poster barcode scans. This was supposed to be used to warn others.
The app used for this has already been used across England and Wales to allow users to check in to a shop, pub, restaurant, or any other venue where QR Codes are used.
Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson while talking to media said
The deployment of the functionality of the NHS COVID-19 App to enable users to upload their venue history has been delayed. This does not impact the functionality of the app and we remain in discussions with our partners to provide beneficial updates to the app which protect the public.
The Department of Health and Social Care runs the app which is powered by exposure notification technology developed by Apple and Google.
The app can send alerts using random IDs when positive covid users are near another app user. The NHS website states the technology is able to find people you’ve been near while protecting your privacy and identity.
According to BBC reports all health authorities who signed up for this program agreed upon not using it to collect location data via contract tracing apps. Which meant allowing users to upload their venue check-in history would be in breach of these rules.
Currently, the app uses Bluetooth to record the distance between your phone and other users who have installed the app.
NHS sites suggest data remains on the user’s phone and cannot be seen or shared with anyone unless you choose to share it.
NHS uses the app to send anonymous notifications to anyone else using the app with who the infected user has been in contact recently. These users will also receive official advice from the NHS on further steps they should take.
NHS further mentions on its site a tech-focused joint unit of NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed the app does not collect personally identifiable data from users. The data collected is anonymous and this data will only be used for NHS care, management, evaluation, and research.
Users can still download the app for iOS and Android devices without the blocked update.