NHSX scraps centralised model for Covid-19 app

In a huge win for digital privacy, in June 2020 the UK Government scrapped plans to use a centralised model for its Covid-19 tracker app, opting for the decentralised model long advocated by Open Rights Group (ORG).

Vital funding from members and supporters enabled ORG to deliver key legal demands that helped convince the Government their centralised model was a privacy disaster.

The UK has averted the creation of a massive database of sensitive personal data that could be handed over to American Big Data companies vying for NHS patients’ data.

Not out of the woods yet

Even with the centralised model off the table, concerns remain. Employers may try to force people to use the app, and it’s not entirely clear whether Bluetooth matching is sufficiently accurate to track individuals’ exposure to the virus.

The Government also needs to do more to make people feel they should follow the app’s advice to get a test or isolate.

For these reasons, ORG will continue to push for a Coronavirus Safeguards Bill and challenge the Government on its very poor privacy practice elsewhere, such as with their manual Track and Trace programme.

The Story So Far

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