RPT-UK privacy advocates warn over COVID-19 contact tracing app - (London South East via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Leading privacy advocates in Britain have asked the government to prevent a soon-to-be launched COVID-19 contact tracing app from becoming a form of state surveillance, London South East reported on Thursday.

  • Matthew Gould, chief executive of the National Health Service's technology group NHSX, said a COVID-19 contact tracing app could be launched in Britain in two to three weeks.

  • However, academics and scientists working in security and privacy at universities in Britain published a joint letter suggesting people would only adopt the app if they felt their privacy was protected.

  • "It is vital that, when we come out of the current crisis, we have not created a tool that enables data collection on the population, or on targeted sections of society, for surveillance," the letter said.

  • Gould noted that he believed the app would protect privacy even though it would build a centralised system, adding that NHSX would publish the privacy model close to launch.

  • Gould said that later versions of the app could also ask users to provide more details such as location, if they agreed.

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