NHS rejects Apple-Google coronavirus app plan

This is absolute madness.

And the BBC should be clearer, it's not going to be the NHS itself, but the government or one of the NHSX backers that's taking the UK in this direction.

Whether they say it out loud or not, the intention is clear. It just sounds like it's being used as an opportunity to implement mass surveillance. It has opted for a "centralised model" to achieve this - meaning that the matching process, which works out which phones to send alerts to - happens on a computer server.

This contrasts with Apple and Google's "decentralised" approach - where the matches take place on users' handsets.

If the data is being collected by anyone associated with the Leave campaign, then we can be sure that the data can be abused. We're targeted enough by advertising, if this app collects location data then that will add another dimension to our digital personas. Brexit and Trump are a direct result of data being used to manipulate 'us', and any location data is only going to make that type of strategy more accurate which is a worry when it's the strategy the Government's key advisor is long associated with.

"One of the advantages is that it's easier to audit the system and adapt it more quickly as scientific evidence accumulates," Prof Christophe Fraser, one of the epidemiologists advising NHSX, told the BBC.

"The principal aim is to give notifications to people who are most at risk of having got infected, and not to people who are much lower risk.

"It's probably easier to do that with a centralised system."

The 'science' being used is so secretive that we know nothing about it. The goalposts move constantly without any real reasoning and after a decade of underfunding the NHS how can I trust the Government to actually invest properly in this endeavour to make adapt effectively? This screams of herd-immunity again; the vulnerable will be prioritised while the rest are left to deal with the reality of catching the disease? And that list line... probably To me, that's just safety net for when it either doesn't work very well or isn't delivered quickly enough.

"Engineers have met several core challenges for the app to meet public health needs and support detection of contact events sufficiently well, including when the app is in the background, without excessively affecting battery life," said a spokeswoman for NHSX, the health service's digital innovation unit.

However it's implemented, it will affect battery life but we're going to be asked to give up more than that. Being supported at the OS level looks like the most sensible and secure way for this to happen.

The Australian government have already released their tracing app and it has a clear focus on privacy. You can see a thread on it's onboarding journey, and this bought some comfort from the official website:

COVIDSafe recognises other devices with the COVIDSafe app installed and Bluetooth enabled. When the app recognises another user, it notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact and the other user's reference code. The COVIDSafe app does not collect your location.

And after the pandemic?

At the end of the Australian COVID-19 pandemic, users will be prompted to delete the COVIDSafe app from their phone. This will delete all app information on a person's phone. The information contained in the information storage system will also be destroyed at the end of the pandemic.

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