UK plans for a Covid-19 (coronavirus) contact tracing app were thrown into doubt after a parliamentary committee raised questions over the security of user data.
In a report published today (7 May), the Joint Committee on Human Rights noted the NHS app raised “significant concerns regarding surveillance and the impact on other human rights” and called for parliamentary examination at the earliest opportunity.
MP Harriet Harman, who chairs the committee, noted the app involved “unprecedented data gathering” meaning “robust legal protection” must be offered to users about “what that data will be used for, who will have access to it and how it will be safeguarded from hacking”.
The group called for new legislation guaranteeing data and human rights protections; creation of an independent body to oversee the use, effectiveness and privacy protections of the app and any data associated with contact tracing; and for Health Secretary Matt Hancock to review the process every 21 days.
A trial of the app on the Isle of Wight reportedly delivered mixed reactions.
Development of the app is being led by the digital unit of the nation’s health service, in conjunction with global tech companies.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back