The UK Government has announced that it will switch its contact-tracing app to a model based on technology by Apple and Google. Professor Carsten Maple, of WMG at the University of Warwick, discusses the impact that this might make to public confidence in the app.
Professor Maple is Professor of Cyber Systems Engineering and recently led research that showed that the UK public wants the NHS to be the controlling body in the Covid-19 contact-tracing app.
Professor Maple said: “The Government changing their stance on the architecture is a significant development. It is worrying that the Government feel they cannot create an app which could, by its own assessment, have a significant impact on controlling the pandemic, without relying on the support of the major tech companies. We should recall that the early versions of apps in other countries could not avail themselves of this Apple and Google capability, but were still effective in controlling the virus. It will be interesting to see how the Government will now attempt to gather the data that they said was so important to control the pandemic, and worth the privacy intrusions that arose in their abandoned version, now that they are taking this new route. This, in itself, could erode confidence in any app that is released."
18 June 2020
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)
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