NHS Covid app update halted for breaking Apple and Google’s rules

Abbianca Makoni
·1-min read
<p>The coronavirus contact tracing app on an iPhone.</p> (PA)

The coronavirus contact tracing app on an iPhone.

(PA)

An update to the NHS Covid-19 app has been blocked by Apple and Google after it broke the tech giants’ privacy rules.

The new feature, which was meant to be implemented in time for phase two of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, would have kept logs of every venue people had attended and checked-in to using a QR code.

Although app users have long been able to scan a code, the new update meant that if a user had a positive test result, they would be required to share their venue history privately on the app.

But this type of tracking is prohibited on privacy grounds by the two firms, who partnered with the Government to design the exposure notification system used on all iOS and Android devices.

Drinks are served at The Terrace, Alexandra Palace, London, as it reopensPA
Drinks are served at The Terrace, Alexandra Palace, London, as it reopensPA

And as a result, Apple and Google refused to make the update available for download from their app stores but the older version is still live, the BBC reported.

A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care told Sky news: "The deployment of the [enhanced check-in] functionality of the NHS Covid-19 app to enable users to upload their venue history has been delayed.

"This does not impact the functionality of the app and we remain in discussions with our partners to provide beneficial updates to the app which protect the public," they added.

It comes as the country enters the next step of the roadmap with pubs and restaurants allowed to serve customers outside and hairdressers finally able to open their doors again.

Despite the freezing start on Monday, shoppers were not be moved by the chilly prospects and still lined up from 5am outside non-essential retail such as Primark and JD Sports.

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