New NHS coronavirus tracking app plagued with major technical issues

PUBLISHED: 14:53 08 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:53 08 May 2020

Privacy International have claimed the new NHS coronavirus tracking app does not work on older devices

Privacy International have claimed the new NHS coronavirus tracking app does not work on older devices

Anya Berkut

A new mobile app launched by the government as part of its ‘track, trace, and test’ programme to slow the spread of the coronavirus has had major technical issues, an analysis has found.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.

UK privacy charity Privacy International has claimed the NHSX app, built to track and trace people who have had Covid-19, does not work if left on in the background or if the phone is put to sleep.

The charity also alleges the software also lacks an opt-in, opt-out feature to stop user data flowing to third-party trackers and does not work on older devices.

MORE: NHS coronavirus tracking app could face legal challenges over privacy concerns.

Privacy International conducted a trial of the app and noticed it disabled a phone’s sleep mode and did not function properly unless it was actively being used.

“The fact that the app must be in the foreground to be effective,” the review states, “makes its usefulness highly questionable.”

You may also want to watch:

“Many workers who are putting themselves at risk, and are also a likely conduit for the spreading of the virus, will be unable to have the app open while working.”

The report pointed out that key frontline workers like delivery drivers and NHS might not then be able to use the new system.

It also claimed the software worked worse on iPhones as it did not let off a signal to Bluetooth beacons which helps track a users whereabouts, and did not function on older mobiles.

“The cursory testing we have completed of this latest app seems to suggest that only those with modern smartphones will be eligible to run it.

“This means it is likely to exclude those who can only afford cheaper phones, and most likely people on lower incomes.

“It is of note that those who are on the lowest incomes are disproportionately likely to be key/essential workers and the elderly, who are at most risk/exposure.”

The app is being tried on the Isle of Wight and, if successful, will be rolled out nationally.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £20

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest pro-European campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.