NHS COVID-19 app tracker: Can the Government track where you are with track and trace app?

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The NHS app follows attempts by both Scotland and Northern Ireland, but this new release boasts more features. The cutting-edge contact-tracing technology built by Silicon Valley giants Apple and Google will tell users to self-isolate if their smartphone detects they were near someone with the virus. But some may have concerns over installing the app on their phone over privacy concerns – so could the tech be used to snoop on you?

Can the Government track where you are with COVID-19 app?

With infection rates rising we must use every tool at our disposal to prevent transmission, including the latest technology

Matt Hancock

As the app’s name suggests, the smartphone tech can is designed to inform the NHS of your location.

However, people should not be concerned with using the feature, as it has been designed to keep the population safe from the highly infectious disease.

Additionally, the COVID-19 app will only be available to those aged 16 and over, so the Government will not be keeping tabs on your children.

The app was released following “positive trials and rigorous testing,” the NHS said in a statement.

The NHS said: “The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people, and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy.

“The system generates a random ID for an individual’s device, which can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth – not GPS.

“These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity.

“The app does not hold personal information such as your name, address or date of birth, and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed.

“No personal data is shared with the government or the NHS.”

How does the COVID-19 app work?

The app works by using Bluetooth technology to record the length of time users spend near others with the app.

Other information includes accurately logging the distance between app users.

As a result the technology is ale too issues, should others – even strangers – who later test positive coronavirus have been nearby.

The COVID-19 app will proceed to ask users to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

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How to access the NHS COVID-19 app?

The app is available for smartphones only – meaning the app will not work on tablets and other devices.

Start by navigating to Android’s Google Play or Apple’s App Store and search for NHS COVID-19.

The handsets must have Android 6.0 or iOS 13.5 and Bluetooth 4.0 or higher.

This consequently excludes the iPhone 6 and older versions of Apple’s handsets.

Some of the latest Huawei handsets are also excluded.

UK Government Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement marking the roll-out of the app: “We are at a tipping point in our efforts to control the spread of this virus.

“With infection rates rising we must use every tool at our disposal to prevent transmission, including the latest technology.

“We have worked extensively with tech companies, international partners, and privacy and medical experts – and learned from the trials – to develop an app that is secure, simple to use and will help keep our country safe.

“Today’s launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer and I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

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