IT experts unconvinced on effectiveness of Covid-19 contact tracing app

Support us and go ad-free

Less than a quarter of IT experts believe the UK’s coronavirus (Covid-19) contact tracing app will be effective, according to a survey.

Just under half (45%) said they were undecided about it, while almost a third (32%) believe the tool will not be useful in helping to contain Covid-19.

The app is currently being trialled on the Isle of Wight as part of the government’s “test, track and trace” strategy to ease the country out of lockdown.

Health secretary Matt Hancock had indicated that a roll-out across the rest of England was on the cards for mid-May, but Downing Street has said the aim is to launch more widely in the “coming weeks”.

Coronavirus contact tracing app
(PA Graphics/PA)

The survey of some 1716 IT professionals, conducted by BCS (British Computer Society) the Chartered Institute for IT, puts data security as the top concern at 69%, followed by privacy (67%).

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Four in 10 (42%) suggested they would be willing to download the app for themselves, but 36% said they would not and the other 21% remain undecided.

Half of those surveyed said they would have preferred the Apple and Google approach, using a decentralised method keeping data between smartphones and not on a central database.

The decentralised model is being adopted by a number of countries across the world, but the UK has decided to go for a centralised approach, meaning a computer will receive data when the individual chooses to share it – a decision which is only favoured by 23% in the survey.

“BCS is clear that if done ethically and competently a tracing app can make a huge contribution to stopping the spread of Covid-19,” said Dr Bill Mitchell, director of policy at the BCS.

“But a majority of our members don’t believe the current model will work and are worried about the reliance on a centralised database.

“It feels like there is a lot of goodwill out there to give a tracing app a chance – if it can be shown to work.

“That means if these concerns are fully addressed then maybe over 60% of the population will install a high quality app.

“That’s the magic adoption figure we need for the app to have real impact on stopping Covid-19.

“The government will need to work hard to convince people that ‘ethical by design, correct by design, and privacy by default’ values are baked into the app to get the download numbers it is aiming for.”

Support us and go ad-free

Do your bit for independent journalism

Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.

We need you to help out, if you can.

When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.

You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.

In return you get:

  • Advert free reading experience
  • Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
  • 20% discount from our shop

 

The Canary Fund us
  • Show Comments
      1. Nope I can’t think of anything !!!!

        My question is why the UK decides to go it alone with a new App when the rest of the word mainly appear to be using the Apple/Google approach, Hmmmmm I wonder why that is ??

        This App has about as much chance of being installed on any of my Families phones, as Keir Stammer has of becoming a Socialist!

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.