The privacy concerns behind the government’s Covid-19 tracking app - CEL Solicitors

CEL Solicitors provided expert commentary to the Daily Express for an article examining the privacy concerns behind the government’s Covid-19 tracking app.

According to the report, after spending nearly £12 million to develop the app from the ground up, it was scrapped following numerous delays and a lack of updates from its initial trial period on the Isle of Wight.

Our associate solicitor, Simon Ridding, who specialises in data breach claims, raised concerns regarding the app’s privacy weeks before the NHS dropped it, even then referring to the rumours that they might have to scrap the app. The reason behind the U-turn was that the government had elected to go with a system that stored data centrally, rather than a decentralised approach whereby data was kept on individual phones.

Simon told the Express: “These security fears are exacerbated by the government’s insistence on using its own centralised app.

“Speculation is raising that the UK may change to the ‘decentralised’ model favoured by Apple and Google, which would store data on an individual’s phone rather than in a centralised database.

“This would certainly help alleviate some of the privacy concerns and, in turn, may increase uptake for the app, which will be key to its success.

“The app will be a goldmine for cyber criminals, so data protection concerns need to be a central consideration. If the database is compromised, it would not only increase public anxiety further, but the government could find itself paying out hefty data breach fines, at a time of existing economic uncertainty.”

Concerns had also been raised that the app wouldn’t work properly on iPhones – something that Australia with its COVIDSafe app had struggled with, which would be a big problem for the NHS app.

The UK Government has now announced that it will be switching from its centralised system to the Google/Apple model instead.

 

For the full article visit Express.co.uk.

 

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