Using bluetooth technology, the app will alert users if they have been near someone who has tested positive for the virus. The app is being developed by the digital technology unit of the National Health Service.
Unlike Germany, the United Kingdom has chosen not to use technology jointly developed by Google (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL) that would allow data to be stored locally on individual devices.

The UK government says all data will be encrypted and anonymous, adhering to UK data privacy rules. And it hopes more than half of the 80,000 households on the Isle of Wight will download the app after its launch Monday, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove said on Sunday.

If the test is successful, the app will be rolled out across the country later this month, he added.

Such apps can be highly effective in stopping mass infections, according to Christophe Fraser, an infectious diseases expert at Oxford University who is helping to develop the UK app and has extensively investigated outbreaks of SARS, H1N1 and Ebola. If people are alerted that they may have been exposed to the virus, they can take steps to prevent further transmission.

However, to be really be effective at stemming the virus, at least 60% of the population would need to download and use the app, Fraser said.

In addition to the app, the UK government says it wants to hire 18,000 contact tracers in the next few weeks as part of its overall efforts to keep track of the virus once lockdown measures have been eased. Contact tracers will track where an infected person has been and who they may have come into contact with.

Wary Germans hate sharing their data. Will they use a Covid-19 tracking app?
The UK app is already being criticized by privacy advocates who have argued that a decentralized approach to managing the data provides greater security against bad state actors “spying” on citizens.
Keeping the data centrally located, others experts argue, protects the app systems from being overwhelmed by hacking attacks, and allows governments to better track and study the spread of the infection.

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