UK turns to Google, Apple contact-tracing tech - Mobile World Live

UK turns to Google, Apple contact-tracing tech

18 JUN 2020

The UK moved forward with its contact-tracing efforts, detailing plans to integrate work conducted so far on its own smartphone app with technology jointly developed by Google and Apple.

In a statement, the government said “rigorous field testing and a trial” of the app developed by the NHS’ digital division NHSX had “identified challenges with both our app and the Google, Apple framework”.

It argued it was not alone in hitting problems, but had now opted to focus on “a solution that brings together the work on our app” with the technology from Google and Apple. This, it stated, will deliver an app which “will bring together the functionality required to carry out contact-tracing” while making it “easy to order tests, and access proactive advice and guidance to aid self-isolation”.

Trials of the government app faced a mixed response, with concerns around the security of user data. Reports stated it was designed to store anonymised information on a centralised database, but The Telegraph said authorities were now backing the decentralised approach taken by the tech giants.

The media outlet reported control of the contact-tracing effort was set to be shifted from NHS executives Matthew Gould and Geraint Lewis to ex-Apple executive Simon Thompson.

Swiss authorities last month claimed to be the first to deploy an app based on Google and Apple’s technology, named SwissCovid.

A number of other countries including Germany, Italy and Denmark, were also reportedly backing a decentralised approach to contact tracing services, BBC News reported.



Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Yanitsa joins Mobile World Live as a Reporter based in London. She has more than 5 years’ experience at various media outlets in her home country Bulgaria. She started her career as a political reporter, followed by taking editor roles...

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