NEWS FROM THE OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION
COMMENT ON CORONAVIRUS CONTACT-TRACING APP U-TURN
The UK Government is switching its plans for a centralised coronavirus contact-tracing app to a model based on technology provided by Apple and Google, the BBC has reported.
The Apple-Google design is widely considered more privacy-centric, and the move echoes a similar decision taken in Germany.
Countries such as Ireland are using a decentralised model, where information is only held on individual smartphones, not a server.
A recent opinion poll for the Open Knowledge Foundation found widespread support for the introduction of a contact-tracing app in the UK at 65 per cent, but 90 per cent of respondents said it is important that any app takes account of civil liberties and protects people’s privacy.
Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said: “Technology can play a key role in the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, but it must take account of civil liberties and ensure that people’s privacy is protected.
“There were widespread fears the UK Government was losing sight of ethical responsibilities in the rush to develop these tools, and this change in line with other European nations is therefore welcome.
“But this late U-turn means it is likely the UK will be waiting even longer for an app to be in use, which could pose a greater risk if there is a second wave of the virus.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Recent opinion poll findings: https://blog.okfn.org/2020/05/04/new-opinion-poll-uk-contact-tracing-app-must-take-account-of-human-rights/
Contact: Alan Roden at email@example.com or +44 (0)7753 904 531
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Our vision is for a future that is fair, free and open. Our mission is to create a more open world – a world where all non-personal information is open, free for everyone to use, build on and share; and creators and innovators are fairly recognised and rewarded.
Open knowledge is any content, information or data that people are free to use, re-use and redistribute without any legal, technological or social restriction.
Through teaching, creating and campaigning, we are working for a fair, free and open future for all. For over a decade, we have pioneered openness and data literacy in new areas using technology, training, policy advice and research.
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The Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation. It is incorporated in England & Wales as a company limited by guarantee, with company number 05133759. Registered office address: 86 - 90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE, UK.