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NHS coronavirus tracing app ‘will have unintended consequences’, senior official says

An NHS app that aims to track the spread of coronavirus is being rolled out for the first time, as part of a trial on the Isle of Wight.

Council and healthcare workers will be the first to try the contact-tracing app, with the rest of the island able to download it from Thursday. The app aims to quickly trace recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for the virus.

However, the new NHS coronavirus app will have “unintended consequences”, according to the head of the unit developing it.

Officials do not know “exactly how it will work”, Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, told a parliamentary committee. “There will be unintended consequences, there will for sure be some things we have to evolve,” he said.

Privacy campaigners have raised concern over the potential for “mission creep” with the data that will be gathered on people’s movements and contact with others.

The Health Service Journal reported that it has not yet passed tests on cyber security, performance and clinical safety needed to be included in the NHS app library.

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Source: The Independent, 4 May 2020


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