UK changes stand, to now use Google-Apple model for coronavirus tracing app

WION Web Team
London, London, UK (Great Britain) Updated: Jun 18, 2020, 07:18 PM(IST)

The novel coronavirus Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The head of the UK's programme said last month a centralised app of the kind Britain had been developing can potentially give more insight into outbreaks of COVID-19, but offers less privacy than decentralised rivals.

The British government will switch to Apple and Google technology for its test-and-trace app, ditching its current system in a U-turn for the troubled programme.

According to a BBC report, UK's test-and-trace programme is seen as a key measure to reopen the country, but has also been dogged by criticism after the nationwide roll-out of a National Health Service (NHS)-developed smartphone app slipped from the last month towards the end of the year.

The head of the UK's programme said last month a centralised app of the kind Britain had been developing can potentially give more insight into outbreaks of COVID-19, but offers less privacy than decentralised rivals.

Apple and Google have been in talks with Britain about the technology, which uses a decentralised model. The firms have barred authorities using their technology from collecting GPS location data or requiring users to enter personal data.

Apple and Google's model has attracted the interest of over 20 countries, though some of the restrictions they have imposed have frustrated governments as the world's top two smartphone makers undercut the technology's usefulness by prioritising user privacy.

The current UK app is being tested on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England.

Ministers have admitted to technical issues with the app, which meant that it was not ready for use in time for the launch of England's test and trace system on May 28.


 

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