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article imageOpen Rights Group challenge to NHSX contact tracing app Special

By Tim Sandle     Jun 7, 2020 in Technology
Several civil liberties groups, such as Liberty, Privacy International and the Open Rights Group, have expressed concerns to the U.K. government about data privacy in relation to the COVID-19 contact tracing app.
These groups are requesting that governments either put in place better data protection policies or abandon its COVID-19 contact-tracing app altogether. Privacy advocates are concerned that track and trace proposals do not have sufficiently strong safeguards for the sensitive health data. Such data will be collected for potentially millions of people.
To highlight these concerns, the campaign groups has flagged a concern with the app with Information Commissioner’s Office watchdog, which oversees privacy concerns, as The Daily Telegraph has reported.
Commenting on the app and the privacy issues, Youngjin Yoo Project lead of Sharetrace and Faculty Director of xLab, Case Western Reserve University and WBS Distinguished Professor for Research Environment Warwick Business School, UK tells Digital Journal: “This challenge from the Open Rights Group to the NHS’s track and trace programme shows that the British public will not ignore their privacy being intruded upon."
What the government needs to do, according to Professor Yoo, is to build consent: "Gaining the public’s trust by ensuring that their privacy is protected now, and in the future, is vital for the NHSX app to be successful when it does eventually launch. The contact tracing app has been widely claimed to be a cornerstone of the government’s plan to ease lockdown measures."
He adds that: "If we do not develop the right infrastructure that allows users to control their data we risk throwing away a valuable tool that could help many people. There are other options available to the government, just because this was the first iteration of the app the government chose does not mean they cannot change to a better system now.”
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