The NHS has bizarrely rejected the decentralised, secure and intelligently designed Apple-Google contact tracing framework in favour of a centralised approach. The decentralised approach is being taken by Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Estonia, Spain, and Ireland. It means all recent contacts will be anonymously, securely stored on your device and never centrally accessible.
Guido has compiled some of the disastrous consequences the UK’s nationalised centralised NHS approach will have:
The Government claims a centralised system is necessary for data about the outbreak, however it would still be possible to gather anonymised data from a decentralised app. Matthew Lesh of the Adam Smith Institute tells Guido:
“If a contact tracing app is going to work it must be downloaded by the clear majority of people. An app that unnecessarily centralises data, is clunky to use and drains your battery is unlikely to be particularly appealing. We need to change to a decentralised approach before it’s too late. Lives are on the line.”
It’s not too late…
UPDATE: According to software industry bible The Register the Bluetooth function just won’t work:
Despite what the National Cyber Security Centre has continued to imply, the app will not, as it stands, work all the time on iOS nor Android since version 8. The operating systems won’t allow the tracing application to broadcast its ID via Bluetooth to surrounding devices when it’s running in the background and not in active use. Apple’s iOS forbids it, and newer Google Android versions limit it to a few minutes after the app falls into the background.
That means that unless people have the NHS app running in the foreground and their phones awake most of the time, the fundamental principle underpinning the entire system – that phones detect each other – won’t work.
It will work if people open the app and leave it open and the phone unlocked. But if you close it and forget to reopen it, or the phone falls asleep, the app will not broadcast its ID and no other phones around you will register that you’ve been close by.
Which makes the philosophical / ideological objection to centralised versus decentralised solution irrelevant…