In a debate in City AM, our director Silkie Carlo stated that we should be worried about the security and privacy issues with the government’s contract tracing app. Here’s what she said:
“The government’s contact tracing strategy raises many questions and offers few answers. Why does the UK government, unlike other democracies, want a state-controlled contact tracing app? Why do they want a centralised database? Why are Amazon, Google and Microsoft handling the app data?
“It’s not even clear yet whether the app will return from its curious ‘trial’ on the Isle of Wight, or what was learned there.
“It seems as though what’s really being trialled is our tolerance.
“I half expect Matt Hancock has his head buried in the sands of Sandown Beach. The health secretary cannot pretend that privacy concerns don’t matter – they do. If people don’t trust the app, they won’t use it. And he needs an astronomical 80 per cent of smartphone users to use the app for it to have any discernible impact.
“Testing remains another key issue — because the app will instruct users to quarantine on the basis of others’ self-diagnosis. We’re expected to imprison ourselves for 14 days on a whim, without receiving a test ourselves.
“And to think, Hancock touted the app as a ticket to ‘get our liberty back’. Perhaps his head is so far in the sand he can’t even hear himself.”