Apple says it wasn't told about UK contact tracing app issues, plans

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The U.K.'s digital contact tracing plans are reportedly in "disarray" amid an apparent lack of communication with Apple and Google.

Credit NHSX
Credit NHSX


After initially rejecting the Apple-Google model for Exposure Notification, the National Health Service on Thursday said it had "agreed to join forces with Google and Apple, to bring the best bits of both systems together."

The NHS had reportedly been testing both its own proprietary system and one based on the Apple-Google API, but found problems with their own. Per the BBC, the NHS solution only detected 4% of nearby iPhones while logging 75% of close Android devices.

Apple's and Google's system, registered 99% of nearby Androids and iPhones, but had weaker distance calculations, the NHS said. Reportedly, the system could not differentiate between a device 1 meter away from one three meters away.

However, Apple said it is "difficult to understand" the distance issue claims from the NHS. The Cupertino tech giant told The Times that the NHS hadn't approached them about the issue, while pointing out that the Exposure Notification API was already in use in countries like Switzerland and Germany.

Apple also expressed surprise that the NHS was working on a new version of its contact tracing app that would "bring the best bits of both systems."

"We don't know what they mean by this hybrid model," Apple told The Times. "They haven't spoken to use about it."

The NHS's digital innovation arm, NHSX, didn't agree. According to a spokesperson, the company said it was working "closely" with the two Silicon Valley firms and have had "production meetings" with Apple to discuss future direction.

The Apple-Google Exposure Notification API is not an app. Instead, it's a framework that public health officials can use to build contact tracing platforms that are deeply integrated into iOS and Android but also take steps to protect user privacy.

After being announced in April, the system exited beta on May 20.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,780member
    Apple says they haven’t heard anything about it. 
    The UK government says they’re working closely with Apple and Google. 

    Well someone’s not telling the tru … yup, the government’s lying. 
    jony0williamlondoncaladanianfotoformatchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,526member
    "the company said it was working "closely" with the two Silicon Valley firms and have had "production meetings" with Apple to discuss future direction." Just because the firms are in Silicon Valley, which has theoretical boundaries but it isn't a defined town, county or even valley unless you consider it Santa Clara Valley, doesn't mean the firms have anything to do with Apple or Google. Exactly who at Apple did they have production meetings with? Again, Apple and Google are only providing api's not any applications.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 21
    darkpawdarkpaw Posts: 198member
    After initially rejecting the Apple-Google model for Exposure Notification, the National Health Service on Thursday said it had "agreed to join forces with Google and Apple, to bring the best bits of both systems together."

    The NHS had reportedly been testing both its own proprietary system and one based on the Apple-Google API, but found problems with their own. Per the BBC, the NHS solution only detected 4% of nearby iPhones while logging 75% of close Android devices.

    Apple's and Google's system, registered 99% of nearby Androids and iPhones, but had weaker distance calculations, the NHS said.

    However, Apple said it is "difficult to understand" the distance issue claims from the NHS.

    Apple also expressed surprise that the NHS was working on a new version...
    Oh, no, no, no. Please don't claim this is anything to do with the NHS. It's not. The NHS provides excellent free healthcare, it didn't develop this app.

    This whole omnishambles is caused by the actions of NHSX, which is "a United Kingdom Government unit with responsibility for setting national policy and developing best practice for National Health Service (NHS) technology, digital and data, including data sharing and transparency." (Wikipedia)

    The NHS has not been involved in this app; it was outsourced by the UK government to Pivotal VMWare.

    Don't denigrate the NHS by claiming they had anything to do with this Matt Hancock-up.
    kuduRayz2016williamlondonGeorgeBMacchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 244member
    Surprise surprise, once again the UK government tries to go it alone and messes up. Then it claims it’s cooperating with others and those others claim otherwise. Just like how they claimed they’ve been consulting with the devolved nations during Brexit (they haven’t) and how they consulted with healthcare providers before suddenly announcing dental surgeries were to reopen (they hadn’t) and how they’d agreed the timetable for schools to reopen in England with local education boards (they hadn’t). 

    This app has been a disaster from the start. Thankfully we have no use for it in Scotland. This is England’s mess. 
    darkpawwilliamlondoncaladanianfotoformatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 297member
    mr lizard said:
    Surprise surprise, once again the UK government tries to go it alone and messes up. Then it claims it’s cooperating with others and those others claim otherwise. Just like how they claimed they’ve been consulting with the devolved nations during Brexit (they haven’t) and how they consulted with healthcare providers before suddenly announcing dental surgeries were to reopen (they hadn’t) and how they’d agreed the timetable for schools to reopen in England with local education boards (they hadn’t). 

    This app has been a disaster from the start. Thankfully we have no use for it in Scotland. This is England’s mess
    So when did Scotland opt out of the NHS?  Somehow, I think this is your mess, too, whether you had a hand in it or not.
    elijahg
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,780member
    darkpaw said:
    After initially rejecting the Apple-Google model for Exposure Notification, the National Health Service on Thursday said it had "agreed to join forces with Google and Apple, to bring the best bits of both systems together."

    The NHS had reportedly been testing both its own proprietary system and one based on the Apple-Google API, but found problems with their own. Per the BBC, the NHS solution only detected 4% of nearby iPhones while logging 75% of close Android devices.

    Apple's and Google's system, registered 99% of nearby Androids and iPhones, but had weaker distance calculations, the NHS said.

    However, Apple said it is "difficult to understand" the distance issue claims from the NHS.

    Apple also expressed surprise that the NHS was working on a new version...
    Oh, no, no, no. Please don't claim this is anything to do with the NHS. It's not. The NHS provides excellent free healthcare, it didn't develop this app.

    This whole omnishambles is caused by the actions of NHSX, which is "a United Kingdom Government unit with responsibility for setting national policy and developing best practice for National Health Service (NHS) technology, digital and data, including data sharing and transparency." (Wikipedia)

    The NHS has not been involved in this app; it was outsourced by the UK government to Pivotal VMWare.

    Don't denigrate the NHS by claiming they had anything to do with this Matt Hancock-up.
    Thanks for pointing this out.  It is vital that people realise that this shitshow is NOTHING to do with the National Health Service. 


    williamlondonGeorgeBMacchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,780member
    bonobob said:
    mr lizard said:
    Surprise surprise, once again the UK government tries to go it alone and messes up. Then it claims it’s cooperating with others and those others claim otherwise. Just like how they claimed they’ve been consulting with the devolved nations during Brexit (they haven’t) and how they consulted with healthcare providers before suddenly announcing dental surgeries were to reopen (they hadn’t) and how they’d agreed the timetable for schools to reopen in England with local education boards (they hadn’t). 

    This app has been a disaster from the start. Thankfully we have no use for it in Scotland. This is England’s mess
    So when did Scotland opt out of the NHS?  Somehow, I think this is your mess, too, whether you had a hand in it or not.
    Scotland elected to develop their own contact-tracing system. 


    They’re using a website accessible by NHS staff, rather than an app. Don’t know much about it, but it looks like they’re not going to rely on the public to download an app. 

    I don’t know if it’ll work, but England’s problem is not a mess they’re going to stick their hand in. 
    williamlondoncaladanianGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 8 of 21
    bonobob said:
    mr lizard said:
    Surprise surprise, once again the UK government tries to go it alone and messes up. Then it claims it’s cooperating with others and those others claim otherwise. Just like how they claimed they’ve been consulting with the devolved nations during Brexit (they haven’t) and how they consulted with healthcare providers before suddenly announcing dental surgeries were to reopen (they hadn’t) and how they’d agreed the timetable for schools to reopen in England with local education boards (they hadn’t). 

    This app has been a disaster from the start. Thankfully we have no use for it in Scotland. This is England’s mess
    So when did Scotland opt out of the NHS?  Somehow, I think this is your mess, too, whether you had a hand in it or not.
    Er...Scotland has had its own NHS since before the formation of the UK one in 1948. Someone needs to get educated...
    williamlondoncaladaniangedboy58Rayz2016
  • Reply 9 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,503member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Apple says they haven’t heard anything about it. 
    The UK government says they’re working closely with Apple and Google. 

    Well someone’s not telling the tru … yup, the government’s lying. 

    Typically, I've found, in those situations that they are both telling their own version -- or usually part of --  the truth.
    elijahg
  • Reply 10 of 21
    None of my friends and family are going to use an App under the control of the UK government. It is sad that I trust only Apple to help society and maintain a balance with our need for privacy. Thankfully the Scottish Government under Nicola Sturgeon will have some oversight and will steer us through this morass of mendacity.
    rob53watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,503member
    gedboy58 said:
    None of my friends and family are going to use an App under the control of the UK government. It is sad that I trust only Apple to help society and maintain a balance with our need for privacy. Thankfully the Scottish Government under Nicola Sturgeon will have some oversight and will steer us through this morass of mendacity.

    If you don't trust your own government, you need to either:  get better sources of information or get rid of that government.
    Trust is really the only thing democratic governments have going for for themselves.  Otherwise well run dictatorships will be able out perform them -- its why no corporation is managed as a democracy.

    Any and every democracy must be run "For the people, by the people and of the people.   Otherwise, its gotta go.
    elijahgwilliamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 21
    seanjseanj Posts: 217member
    darkpaw said:

    The NHS has not been involved in this app; it was outsourced by the UK government to Pivotal VMWare.

    Don't denigrate the NHS by claiming they had anything to do with this Matt Hancock-up.
    Nothing to do with Matt Handcock either.

    Apparently it was the head guy at NHSX, Matthew Gould, decided not to use the AppleGoogle API and instead opt for a centralised app built by Pivotal at a cost of £4.5m. This was against the advice of the tech guys inside NHSX. Matthew Gould is a career civil servant and Whitehall mandarin who has no technology qualifications, experience, or background. Yet despite being woefully unqualified he has the job, screws up important projects, and gets paid £150k for it.... :s
    Pretty much the norm when it comes to bureaucrats in the UK.
    chasmwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    looplessloopless Posts: 198member
    Of course the reason only 4% of iPhones were detected was because the app has to be in the foreground due to Apples rules on bluetooth. They knew this was going to happen and have wasted everyones time with these trials. Trying to brow-beat Apple was always going to fail.
    GeorgeBMacwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 343member
    These apps are total red herrings 

    Highly unlikely to have any impact above and beyond manual/personnel based contact tracing 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,780member
    bonobob said:
    mr lizard said:
    Surprise surprise, once again the UK government tries to go it alone and messes up. Then it claims it’s cooperating with others and those others claim otherwise. Just like how they claimed they’ve been consulting with the devolved nations during Brexit (they haven’t) and how they consulted with healthcare providers before suddenly announcing dental surgeries were to reopen (they hadn’t) and how they’d agreed the timetable for schools to reopen in England with local education boards (they hadn’t). 

    This app has been a disaster from the start. Thankfully we have no use for it in Scotland. This is England’s mess
    So when did Scotland opt out of the NHS?  Somehow, I think this is your mess, too, whether you had a hand in it or not.
    Er...Scotland has had its own NHS since before the formation of the UK one in 1948. Someone needs to get educated...
    Consider me educated! I didn't know that!

    http://www.ournhsscotland.com/history/birth-nhsscotland
    edited June 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,780member

    gedboy58 said:
    None of my friends and family are going to use an App under the control of the UK government. It is sad that I trust only Apple to help society and maintain a balance with our need for privacy. Thankfully the Scottish Government under Nicola Sturgeon will have some oversight and will steer us through this morass of mendacity.

    I'm sure you know how lucky are to have someone with a clue in charge.

    Cummings has lost the plot.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,780member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Apple says they haven’t heard anything about it. 
    The UK government says they’re working closely with Apple and Google. 

    Well someone’s not telling the tru … yup, the government’s lying. 

    Typically, I've found, in those situations that they are both telling their own version -- or usually part of --  the truth.
    Then you don't know our government.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 21
    I put all my trust in Boris in how to embrace Corona (supported by 5 kids with 4 mothers...)
  • Reply 19 of 21
    darkpawdarkpaw Posts: 198member
    I put all my trust in Boris in how to embrace Corona (supported by 5 kids with 4 mothers...)
    Perhaps they're also working on a track and trace app to locate his children?
    williamlondonRayz2016
  • Reply 20 of 21
    Rayz2016 said:
    bonobob said:
    mr lizard said:
    Surprise surprise, once again the UK government tries to go it alone and messes up. Then it claims it’s cooperating with others and those others claim otherwise. Just like how they claimed they’ve been consulting with the devolved nations during Brexit (they haven’t) and how they consulted with healthcare providers before suddenly announcing dental surgeries were to reopen (they hadn’t) and how they’d agreed the timetable for schools to reopen in England with local education boards (they hadn’t). 

    This app has been a disaster from the start. Thankfully we have no use for it in Scotland. This is England’s mess
    So when did Scotland opt out of the NHS?  Somehow, I think this is your mess, too, whether you had a hand in it or not.
    Er...Scotland has had its own NHS since before the formation of the UK one in 1948. Someone needs to get educated...
    Consider me educated! I didn't know that!

    http://www.ournhsscotland.com/history/birth-nhsscotland

    Pleased to hear it 😉
    watto_cobra
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