Test And Trace Whistleblowers to Expose ‘Chaos’ On Today’s Panorama

Following controversy and technical problems around NHS Test and Trace, BBC’s Panorama will hear from whistleblowers working inside the tracking system this evening. According to the BBC, these individuals are “so concerned about NHS Test and Trace that they are speaking out to reveal […] a system that does not appear to them to be working”. A crucial element of the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tracing programme has already been subject to fears around privacy, location tracking, and data misuse – and the official app was launched just last week.

Experts Comments

September 28, 2020
Jake Moore
Cybersecurity Specialist
ESET
Initially, contact tracing was offered to the government in two very different ways – centralised and decentralised. When they first opted for centralised tracing, this came with massive concerns around security and safety, due to fears around who would own the data, how they would store it, and if they would be able to track individuals. Fortunately, the government then listened to independent research and instead adopted the Google/Apple decentralised model, which is far more privacy.....Read More
Initially, contact tracing was offered to the government in two very different ways – centralised and decentralised. When they first opted for centralised tracing, this came with massive concerns around security and safety, due to fears around who would own the data, how they would store it, and if they would be able to track individuals. Fortunately, the government then listened to independent research and instead adopted the Google/Apple decentralised model, which is far more privacy focused. The app, clearly, still isn’t perfect – there is a distinct lack of legislation protecting the data and the initial rollout has been rocky, with some individuals directed to the wrong app. If this continues, the public may turn its back on the app before it has had enough time to come into any sort of effect. However, a more significant area of concern in terms of data privacy is the lower-tech tracing programmes in place across the country. As far back as July, we saw bar staff make unwarranted contact with pub goers, which could be just the start if contact tracing goes unchecked. When pandemics hit, the rulebooks can go out of the window, as we focus on the bigger picture of the threat to physical health. There is no doubt that sharing data is vital in right now and offering it up could help save lives. However, this has been detrimental to individual privacy, and has left the protection of our private data open to abuse - unfortunately, this could be precisely where criminals will strike. Contact tracing is an essential part of the coronavirus response, but we need to make sure it’s done responsibly.  Read Less
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