UK's NHS working on app using Apple-Google contact tracking tech

Posted:
in iOS edited April 2020
The UK's National Health Service is working with Google and Apple to develop an app to assist with the tracking of COVID-19, a system that may be the contact tracing software the two tech giants recently announced was in development.




On Friday, Apple and Google announced they were jointly working on APIs to allow iOS and Android devices to detect each other using Bluetooth, for the purposes of tracking the spread of COVID-19. As part of the announcement, it was claimed the APIs would be made available for use by public health authorities to use in their official apps, with the UK's NHS seemingly among the first to take them up on the offer.

Sources of The Sunday Times advise the technology branch of the NHS, NHSX, is working on the development of the app with Google and Apple. The app's creation was apparently ordered by government ministers, keen to use technology to minimize the spread and impact of the coronavirus on the country's citizens.

In a daily pandemic update, health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the app was in development. According to the BBC, a pre-release version of the software will be tested at a secure location in the North of England over the next week.

The app would work in practically the same way as the proposed Apple-Google system, in that Bluetooth would be used to log other devices the smartphone and its user comes into contact with in their daily life. Using a system of exchanging anonymous identifier beacons stored on smartphones, which can be sent to a central database, it aims to allow devices to log if it has been near to someone who recently has been positively diagnosed with COVID-19.

While NHSX reportedly wasn't aware of the Apple-Google project beforehand, it intends to add the API to the app.

If a user is self-diagnosed as having the coronavirus, they can declare the status in the app. A yellow alert is then able to be sent to any users who were recently closeby for an extended period of time.

Following a positive medical test for the virus, a red alert warning will be sent instead, telling others to go into quarantine. To prevent misuse, the user would have to enter a verification code into the app, one that would be received alongside their test result.

Hancock advised the app would be voluntary, but experts warn around 60 percent of the UK population would have to use the technology for it to become an effective tool.

The app's data will be handled "according to the highest ethical and security standards," said Hancock, "and would only be used for NHS care and research. And we wouldn't hold it any longer than is needed."

Update: Government's confirmation of the app's development added to the story.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    tbstephtbsteph Posts: 95member
    What could go wrong with this? 
    elijahg
  • Reply 2 of 22
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,771member
    Considering the overzealous police here thinking we've turned into a police state, informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens - contrary to the actual law -  I don't think this will be used by too many people.
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 3 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    elijahg said:
    Considering the overzealous police here thinking we've turned into a police state, informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens - contrary to the actual law -  I don't think this will be used by too many people.
    They’re doing what?
    This is what I was most worried about. 
  • Reply 4 of 22
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,384member
    tbsteph said:
    What could go wrong with this? 
    It's opt-in.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 5 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    elijahg said:
    Considering the overzealous police here thinking we've turned into a police state, informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens - contrary to the actual law -  I don't think this will be used by too many people.
    That’s the troll living under the bridge with democracies. ‘We the People’ have given our governments power over us with the understanding they use that power for our benefit to protect and serve us. Every politician starts out believing he/she has been called to serve the people. They give flowery speeches to get elected. After they get elected they find out that reality is different. They run headlong into the established power structure, the lobbies, the special interests, the leadership with agendas. I find it obscene that some Senators and Representatives have been in power for literally decades. The President gets two terms and out. Why not the Senators and Representatives? Was the Congress not established to be populated with ‘citizen legislators’? We’re aghast at Vladimir Putin changing the law so he can be president for life but we accept Senator Bumblefuck being in office for 40 years. Because he ‘brings home the bacon’ of course.

    Oh, and the same goes for the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the Prime Minister. 
    edited April 2020 gatorguylostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 22
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 433member
    The end is nigh 
  • Reply 7 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    kkqd1337 said:
    The end is nigh 

    I live in southwestern Illinois across the river from St. Louis, Mo. Our local newspaper (a McClatchy owned rag) recently published an article declaring that Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker has ‘Supreme Authority’ to deal with this crisis. Supreme authority! Now there’s a statement to chew on. 
  • Reply 8 of 22
    Anilu_777Anilu_777 Posts: 539member
    elijahg said:
    Considering the overzealous police here thinking we've turned into a police state, informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens - contrary to the actual law -  I don't think this will be used by too many people.
    There are no details here except your comment. Unless you know these things to be true on a widespread basis (not a ‘one of’ action) then don’t bother stoking the fire. It just causes people to get riled up unnecessarily  and doesn’t inform. 
  • Reply 9 of 22
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,771member
    Anilu_777 said:
    elijahg said:
    Considering the overzealous police here thinking we've turned into a police state, informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens - contrary to the actual law -  I don't think this will be used by too many people.
    There are no details here except your comment. Unless you know these things to be true on a widespread basis (not a ‘one of’ action) then don’t bother stoking the fire. It just causes people to get riled up unnecessarily  and doesn’t inform. 
    Here you go. Reporting facts is not “stoking the fire,” it is keeping the police in line when they overstep the mark and become a law unto themselves. 

    https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/police-under-fire-for-telling-dad-front-garden/

    https://www.yahoo.com/now/coronavirus-police-trolley-threat-backtrack-090520020.html

  • Reply 10 of 22
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    elijahg said:
    Considering the overzealous police here thinking we've turned into a police state, informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens - contrary to the actual law -  I don't think this will be used by too many people.
    Misreprentation of facts in true trolling style. Yes, these things have happened in a handful of cases due to individual over-zealous/incompetent/misinformed Police officers. It is clear however, that, generally speaking, no the police are not going to be searching people's trollies, and no, they are not telling people  they can't be in their own gardens.

    Here is an article where the government have made it clear that people can buy whatever they want in shops that are open, and be in their own gardens:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52245937

    Here is an article that discusses the garden incident, and states that the officer who told people they couldn't be in their own garden was misinformed and has been spoken to about it:

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/coronavirus-police-apologise-for-telling-family-they-werent-allowed-in-their-own-front-garden/ar-BB12qPik
    gatorguympw_amherst
  • Reply 11 of 22
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,284member
    mr. h said:
    elijahg said:
    Considering the overzealous police here thinking we've turned into a police state, informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens - contrary to the actual law -  I don't think this will be used by too many people.
    Misreprentation of facts in true trolling style. Yes, these things have happened in a handful of cases due to individual over-zealous/incompetent/misinformed Police officers. It is clear however, that, generally speaking, no the police are not going to be searching people's trollies, and no, they are not telling people  they can't be in their own gardens.

    Here is an article where the government have made it clear that people can buy whatever they want in shops that are open, and be in their own gardens:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52245937

    Here is an article that discusses the garden incident, and states that the officer who told people they couldn't be in their own garden was misinformed and has been spoken to about it:

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/coronavirus-police-apologise-for-telling-family-they-werent-allowed-in-their-own-front-garden/ar-BB12qPik
    Gosh, someone always has to ruin all the fun, and just when they were getting started.  B)
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 12 of 22
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member

    tbsteph said:
    What could go wrong with this? 
    The biggest problem here is that, as proposed, people could state they have coronavirus symptoms with no checks, issuing an "orange alert" to anyone they've been in contact with. Too open to the whims of mindless dickheads who would think it terribly funny to issue a false alert. I don't see an immediate solution to this problem, beyond just not allowing it and using it for clinically-confirmed cases only. As such, this is only likely to be useful if we can hit our stated 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day.
    edited April 2020 lostkiwi
  • Reply 13 of 22
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    elijahg said:

    I can't see the whole article as it's behind a paywall, but the bit that I can see does suggest that this is a load of over-sensationalised tosh of which the Telegraph should be ashamed. Yes, the Police should be held to account, but not by misrepresenting what they are doing. The article appears to be based around a tweet issued from a particular force, but that tweet starts "Essential journey?" (my emphasis added).

    The point is that the law states that people should only be making an essential journey. So, travel to the shop to buy food. And if when you're there, you want to buy a lottery scratch card, go ahead. But travel to the shop simply to buy a scratch card? Nope - that's not an essential journey and you shouldn't be doing it.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    mr. h said:

    tbsteph said:
    What could go wrong with this? 
    The biggest problem here is that, as proposed, people could state they have coronavirus symptoms with no checks, issuing an "orange alert" to anyone they've been in contact with. Too open to the whims of mindless dickheads who would think it terribly funny to issue a false alert. I don't see an immediate solution to this problem, beyond just not allowing it and using it for clinically-confirmed cases only. As such, this is only likely to be useful if we can hit our stated 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day.
    What? People would lie just to start a panic and force the quarantine innocent people? Of course they would!
  • Reply 15 of 22
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,771member
    mr. h said:
    elijahg said:
    Considering the overzealous police here thinking we've turned into a police state, informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens - contrary to the actual law -  I don't think this will be used by too many people.
    Misreprentation of facts in true trolling style. Yes, these things have happened in a handful of cases due to individual over-zealous/incompetent/misinformed Police officers. It is clear however, that, generally speaking, no the police are not going to be searching people's trollies, and no, they are not telling people  they can't be in their own gardens.

    Here is an article where the government have made it clear that people can buy whatever they want in shops that are open, and be in their own gardens:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52245937

    Here is an article that discusses the garden incident, and states that the officer who told people they couldn't be in their own garden was misinformed and has been spoken to about it:

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/coronavirus-police-apologise-for-telling-family-they-werent-allowed-in-their-own-front-garden/ar-BB12qPik
    Right so what exactly have I misrepresented by saying police have been "informing people they will (illegally) start searching shopping trolleys for "non essential items" and telling people they can't even exercise in their own gardens"? I am quite aware of what is legal, the point is the police are taking the law into their own hands and telling people that they cannot do something when there is absolutely no basis in law for that. Yeah "misinformed" that's convenient. if the officer was "misinformed" then why was that the only officer that took it upon themselves to tell off those people, and no one else got told off for the same? Somehow that officer got a different message to every other officer in the country? Similarly to the police chief who said they will start searching trolleys, patrolling non-essential aisles in supermarkets and setting up roadblocks later claimed his language was "clumsy". Not much "clumsy" about "we are going to start marshalling supermarkets and checking shopping trolleys and baskets and so on." Just an excuse to try and shift the blame away from their illegal policing.

    Our home secretary has warned the police not to overstep the law, saying "t
    he suggestion was “not appropriate” and did not follow guidance issued to police."
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 16 of 22
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,771member
    mr. h said:
    elijahg said:

    I can't see the whole article as it's behind a paywall, but the bit that I can see does suggest that this is a load of over-sensationalised tosh of which the Telegraph should be ashamed. Yes, the Police should be held to account, but not by misrepresenting what they are doing. The article appears to be based around a tweet issued from a particular force, but that tweet starts "Essential journey?" (my emphasis added).

    The point is that the law states that people should only be making an essential journey. So, travel to the shop to buy food. And if when you're there, you want to buy a lottery scratch card, go ahead. But travel to the shop simply to buy a scratch card? Nope - that's not an essential journey and you shouldn't be doing it.
    You discern that something is sensationalist by reading one sentence? As you say, buying non-essential items at the same time as going shopping for essentials is completely legal. As I said above, the police chief has literally said directly the opposite; that they will be patrolling the non-essential aisles and checking people's trolleys, before backtracking because the Home Secretary told him to wind his neck in. Still think that's over-sensationalised?




    edited April 2020
  • Reply 17 of 22
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    elijahg said:
    Right so what exactly have I misrepresented by saying police ...

    The misrepresentation is your loose use of language. The way you phrase it "police have been", "the police", implies that this is occurring at an institutional level, deliberately. This is demonstrably not the case. The cases highlighted in the media are anecdotal cases of individual officers getting it wrong.

    Is the media doing an important job by identifying and highlighting these missteps? Yes. But many articles are pitched in a deliberately click-baiting, hyperbolic manner, which is especially disappointing when it's done by supposedly respectable broadsheet publications. It's wrong to imply that these anecdotal cases are indications of a wider systemic issue. In any organisation that contains many thousands of individuals, it is literally impossible to ensure that every single one of them will always do what they are supposed to, because they are human and humans make mistakes.

    What is vital is that the system is at least reasonably good at identifying when problems occur and correcting them if necessary and possible. So like I said, media reporting misdeeds is important, but let's not do it in a way that misrepresents the overall picture and gets people unnecessarily riled.
    edited April 2020 gatorguympw_amherst
  • Reply 18 of 22
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,771member
    mr. h said:
    elijahg said:
    Right so what exactly have I misrepresented by saying police ...

    The misrepresentation is your loose use of language. The way you phrase it "police have been", "the police", implies that this is occurring at an institutional level, deliberately. This is demonstrably not the case. The cases highlighted in the media are anecdotal cases of individual officers getting it wrong.

    Is the media doing an important job by identifying and highlighting these missteps? Yes. But many articles are pitched in a deliberately click-baiting, hyperbolic manner, which is especially disappointing when it's done by supposedly respectable broadsheet publications. It's wrong to imply that these anecdotal cases are indications of a wider systemic issue. In any organisation that contains many thousands of individuals, it is literally impossible to ensure that every single one of them will always do what they are supposed to, because they are human and humans make mistakes.

    What is vital is that the system is at least reasonably good at identifying when problems occur and correcting them if necessary and possible. So like I said, media reporting misdeeds is important, but let's not do it in a way that misrepresents the overall picture and gets people unnecessarily riled.
    You introduced "misrepresentation," and tried to apply it to all cases I posted, you're attempting to discredit my points through academic level interpretation of my words. Are you one of the officers who has been overzealous? Not sure what interest you would have in defending the police illegally creating their own powers otherwise.

    Ah so the chief of police for Northamptonshire saying they will search baskets isn't at an institutional level? I agree it is important that the media keeps the police in check, but the police should be able to judge what is reasonable and what isn't without testing the waters to see what they can get away with - especially when government guidance is pretty clear. This kind of thing hugely reduces the trust in police, and it has been found that the more contact with police people have, the less trust they have in them. 
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 19 of 22
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    elijahg said:
    Ah so the chief of police for Northamptonshire saying they will search baskets isn't at an institutional level? I agree it is important that the media keeps the police in check, but the police should be able to judge what is reasonable and what isn't without testing the waters to see what they can get away with - especially when government guidance is pretty clear. This kind of thing hugely reduces the trust in police, and it has been found that the more contact with police people have, the less trust they have in them. 

    OK. I agree that that was bad. But in this case the system has worked, no? Some individual made a mistake, the media noted the mistake, the individual's superior told him he was wrong.

    In this particular case, one does have to question why someone in such a senior position is getting something that, really, isn't that hard to understand, so fundamentally wrong. Personally I would question why this individual is in such a senior position if he lacks basic reading comprehension skills, or thinks that he's too important to read advice, or thinks it's OK to make up his own rules.

    So, I think we agree about this.

    But let's rewind to your very first post, shall we? Did that not give the impression that the police in the UK are running wild at an institutional level, right across the country? I think that it did. And from where I am, I do not feel that that is what is happening.
    gatorguympw_amherst
  • Reply 20 of 22
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member

    mr. h said:
    OK. I agree that that was bad. But in this case the system has worked, no? Some individual made a mistake, the media noted the mistake, the individual's superior told him he was wrong.

    Hmmm, having investigated a bit more, perhaps it genuinely was just "clumsy language". Let's hear from the man himself: https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/crime/northamptonshire-police-chief-puts-record-straight-checking-shopping-trolleys-2536309
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