Apple, Google block NHS Covid-19 app update over privacy concerns
Apple and Google blocked a planned update for the NHS Covid-19 app that traces outbreaks of the virus in England and Wales.
The update, which was scheduled for 8 April,, ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions, was blocked over privacy breaches following some changes in its settings as regards the sharing of users’ data.
The app tracks the interactions of users with bars and restaurants by having them scan the QR code of the venue and later on, should the venue become a virus hotspot, warns all people previously “checked-in” at the site of the risks.
Changes to the sharing of data involved taking all of the users’ “check-ins” at different venues if they tested positive. That however was in contravention of Google and Apple's privacy rules, leading them to immediately block it from their app stores.
The companies further said that the app should work in a decentralised manner instead of harvesting citizens’ movements and then storing the data directly in a government database.