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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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