NHS Covid-19 app update blocked over privacy issues

A new update on the NHS Covid-19 mobile app has been paused after Apple and Google blocked it from their stores over privacy breaches.

The NHS’ Test and Trace app was due for the update on 8 April in time for the easing of restrictions.

The changes included all members of a party needing to check-in at hospitality venues, venue history sharing, and new alerts.

The issue is with the venue history sharing, where if an app user tests positive for coronavirus, they are asked to share their venue history in what the government described as a “privacy-protecting way” via the app.

Earlier this month the Department of Health said: “This will allow venue alerts to be generated more quickly, and improve the ability to identify where outbreaks are occurring and take steps to prevent the virus spreading.”

This update reportedly broke both tech giants' rules when they built the test and trace technology last year, which ended up with the companies blocking the new version, according to a report by The Guardian.

This kind of update was banned by Apple and Google since the beginning of the technology’s development.

Scotland has dodged the ban because it produced its own separate app called ‘Check in Scotland,’ designed specifically for the purpose of sharing venue histories and did not include the function in its wider test and trace platform.

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