Decentralised Tracing App rather than current NHSX approach

The government have chosen to adopt a centralised tracing app approach which is out of step with almost every other country that is using the decentralised method put forward by Apple and Google.

The governments approach to use a centralised approach has a number of inherent issues.

1) Security and privacy concerns will prevent people from downloading and using the.
2) Unnecessary cost of developing an inferior app than what will be available from Apple and Google
3) User issues i.e. the government app will not be as effective as an app built by the technology companies
4) The NHS app will not be compatible with all other countries and therefore will limit uk citizens ability to travel.

A large number of security experts have written to the government advising them against using this centralised method for the reasons listed above.

Why the contribution is important

I'd urge the government to reconsider this costly exercise in developing an inferior app with serious inherent privacy issues inbuilt.

by alloha on May 05, 2020 at 03:59PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.9
Based on: 30 votes


  • Posted by JingsCrivens May 05, 2020 at 16:03

    I have read up on the new app, and share the concerns of the original poster. A more mainstream approach should be adopted.
  • Posted by Ironduke May 05, 2020 at 16:04

    any type of tracing is important .... however all methods do rely on a central system of keeping track of the disease otherwise it will be of limited utility
  • Posted by GavT100 May 05, 2020 at 16:50

    I disagree with this. I belive the UK tracing app which is under trial on Isle of Wight is an excellent balance between effectiveness and your security. It uses only Bluetooth proximity history, only your high level postcode and Bluetooth mac address are stored server side with this proximity history.

    Should you request a Covid-19 test, only then do you have to enter your personal details. Should you have a positive test, then only app users who have shared a significant bluetooth proximity with you are alerted. They dont know it was you that tested positive, just that they have been in contact with someone who has.
  • Posted by kmdav May 06, 2020 at 11:16

    If the concerns about the UK app turn out to be correct I would like to see NHS Scotland choose to use the Google /Apple alternative.
  • Posted by jriddell May 06, 2020 at 11:31

    Contact tracking apps are important but the NHS England app does not use best practice. It is not open source so we can not review it is best practice. It uses a centralised database creating a privacy infringement accessible to a government with a previous record of breaking the law in this area. They have said they will keep this data indefinately. Rather than being reviewed by an independenct audirot it is being reviewed by GCHQ who have a remit to do mass surveilance.

    It would be better to share the source code with apps from other EU countries which use best practice security and privacy.
  • Posted by alloha May 06, 2020 at 12:07

    The financial times cover the major security and technical flaws in their attached article.[…]e8a4-4848-ac66-cbe5f40ced4d
  • Posted by zuzan May 06, 2020 at 13:34

    I would support use of a decentralise app to assist with a people based approach using our existing health and social care networks.

    It's really important for public trust to use a decentralised app for this .. this is an excellent model of a decentralised app that ensures privacy and any possible nuisance reporting is blocked (nb where someone self reports to cause inconvenience to others they have had contact with.)

    This is a model for how it could work
  • Posted by zuzan May 06, 2020 at 13:36

    Further to the above there is also an issue with the NHSX app use of self reporting.. it could cause huge problems where a person either purposefully or mistakenly reports as symptomatic / covid positive.. it would then cause huge inconvenience for their contacts
  • Posted by zuzan May 06, 2020 at 13:53

    Another issue I think a contact tracing app must address is compatibility with apps from other countries.
  • Posted by Malena May 09, 2020 at 09:59

    A decentralised open sourced app is much safer in terms of privacy and will encourage more people to download it if their personal information is safe.
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