UK ditches COVID-19 app model to use Google-Apple system

A 3D printed Google brand is positioned on the Apple Macbook on this illustration taken April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Thursday mentioned it could swap to Apple and Google know-how for its test-and-trace app, ditching its present system in a U-turn for the troubled programme.

The test-and-trace programme is seen as a key measure to reopen the nation, however has additionally been dogged by criticism after the nationwide roll-out of a National Health Service (NHS)-developed smartphone app slipped from the final month in the direction of the top of the 12 months.

Apple and Google have been in talks with Britain in regards to the know-how, which makes use of a decentralised mannequin. The companies have barred authorities utilizing their know-how from gathering GPS location knowledge or requiring customers to enter private knowledge.

Those working the programme admitted that the change of tack was unplanned however denied that it was a setback, emphasising that they didn’t wish to rush out an app which fell wanting requirements.

Apple and Google’s mannequin has attracted the curiosity of over 20 nations, although among the restrictions they’ve imposed have pissed off governments because the world’s high two smartphone makers undercut the know-how’s usefulness by prioritising person privateness.

The present UK app is being examined on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England, the place it had proved to work nicely on Google’s Android working methods however not on Apple iPhones.

Ministers have admitted to technical points with the app, which meant that it was not prepared to be used in time for the launch of England’s take a look at and hint system on May 28.

James Bethell, a junior well being minister, on Wednesday mentioned, almost about the app, that the federal government wished to “get something going for the winter”, however that it was not a precedence.

Britain’s adoption of this ‘decentralised’ method could be in step with a rising variety of European nations, together with Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; enhancing by Kate Holton/Guy Faulconbridge


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