Full width home advertisement

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

NHS is already building a new Covid-19 contact tracing app after first one didn't work with older mobiles, had problems on iPhones and drained batteries too quickly in Isle of Wight trial

NHS is already building a new Covid-19 contact tracing app after first one didn't work with older mobiles, had problems on iPhones and drained batteries too quickly in Isle of Wight trial
  • Developers from Google and Apple have been brought into the fold to tweak
  • NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould this week gave new app the green light 
  • It could be the version rolled out nationwide if privacy and tech issues persist 
The NHS is building a fresh contact-tracing app after the pilot on the Isle of Wight exposed teething problems and privacy concerns.   
Developers from Google and Apple have been brought into the fold to provide technology that will overcome incompatibility issues with some mobiles.
Some of the 50,000 islanders to have so far downloaded the app have also complained that it rapidly saps a phone's battery.
NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould this week gave the green light for the new software, which will be designed 'in parallel' with the existing app being trialled.
The second app could be the version rolled out nationwide if the concerns revealed by the Isle of Wight dry run continue to persist.
'These technical details end up being quite important,' a source involved with the new app told the Financial Times
Google and Apple's own contact-tracing app is underway and is expected to be released in mid-May. 
NHS worker Anni Adams looks at the new NHS app on her phone on the Isle of Wight yesterday
NHS worker Anni Adams looks at the new NHS app on her phone on the Isle of Wight yesterday
People are receiving error messages telling them the app is not compatible with their devices, with others reporting glitches including pop-ups. This picture appears to show one of the devices not compatible with the app
People are receiving error messages telling them the app is not compatible with their devices, with others reporting glitches including pop-ups. This picture appears to show one of the devices not compatible with the app 
Forging a robust system of contact-tracing has been heralded as the route out of lockdown as it will remove the need for blanket self-isolation.
Those who have come into contact with an infected person - detected by bluetooth technology - will be alerted and told to social distance.
But before it is adopted across the UK, developers will have to overcome difficulties thrown up by the first phase trial.
Islanders have said the app will not install on Huawei, iPhones and Samsungs released before mid-2017. 
And complaints have been pouring into local Facebook groups, many of which moan the app eats away at the battery - however others have told MailOnline that it has not had a noticeable effect.
There is also some squeamishness about downloading the app because of a cloud hanging over data protection.
Charlie Harris, 25, from Cowes, told MailOnline: 'To me it's an invasion of my privacy, any app you download you don't know who's controlling it. 
'I know it's a government app but whose to say they won't go through your phone.'
Residents have since been sharing their frustrations on local Facebook groups, with Richard Mitchell pointing out the app did not work for him or his wifeResidents have since been sharing their frustrations on local Facebook groups, with Richard Mitchell pointing out the app did not work for him or his wife
Complaints have been pouring into local Facebook groups about the compatibility of phones
Fears over privacy have also been raised by MPs on the Commons' human rights committee, who said they had 'significant concerns'.
NHSX's app stores data about infected cases and their contacts in a centralised system, which developers claim is essential.
But Google and Apple's own version, which has been adopted by several European countries, is decentralised and does not harvest location data. 
Ian Levy, technical director at GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre, has reassured users that the app is safe to use. 
Isle of Wight council workers and NHS staff were encouraged to download the app on Tuesday, with instruction letters sent out to the rest of the island yesterday.
As of yesterday evening, 50,000 people have downloaded the app, according to the MP Bob Seely.
Experts have said that around 60 per cent of the population - 84,000 - will need to download NHSX to make the software effective.   
Nadine Dorries, minister at the Department of Health, said: 'We would like to thank the residents of the Isle of Wight for leading the way and being the first to try the new app. 
'Their valuable feedback will help us to refine the app, paving the way towards a national roll-out when the time is right.'

How is the NHS tracing app different to one made by Apple and Google?

The app technologies developed by Google/Apple and the NHS are based on the same principle - they keep a log of who someone has come into close contact with - but the way they store data is the main difference. The NHS's keeps information in a centralised database, while the Google/Apple app is de-centralised.
NHS app: Lists on NHS servers 
The NHSX app will create an alert every time two app users come within Bluetooth range of one another and log this in the user's phone.
Each person will essentially build up a list of everyone they have been in 'contact' with. This will be anonymised so the lists will actually just be numbers or codes, not lists of names or addresses. 
If someone is diagnosed with the coronavirus or reports that they have symptoms, all the app users they got close to during the time that they were considered infectious - this will vary from person to person - will receive an alert telling them they have been put at risk of COVID-19 - but it won't name the person who was diagnosed. 
NHSX insists it will delete people's data when they get rid of the app. 
Apple/Google: Contained on phones
In Apple and Google's de-centralised approach, meanwhile, the server and list element of this process is removed and the entire log is contained in someone's phone.
That app works by exchanging a digital 'token' with every phone someone comes within Bluetooth range of over a fixed period.
If one person develops symptoms of the coronavirus or tests positive, they will be able to enter this information into the app.
The phone will then send out a notification to all the devices they have exchanged tokens with during the infection window, to make people aware they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
The server database will not be necessary because each phone will keep an individual log of the bluetooth profiles someone has come close to. These will then be linked anonymously to people's NHS apps and alerts can be pushed through that even after the person is out of bluetooth range.
It is understood that if someone later deletes the Google/Apple app and closes their account their data would be erased. 
Will NHS benefit from central data?
If the NHS collects the data it may be able to use it as part of wider contact tracing efforts as well as being able to detect local outbreaks using location data.
In future, if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, members of an army of 18,000 'contact tracers' will be tasked with working out who else that patient has come into contact with and put at risk.
It is not clear how much access the human contact tracers will have to data collected through the app. 

No comments:

Post a comment

Bottom Ad [Post Page]