Contact tracing app will only work if privacy concerns are addressed

May 01, 2020 2 min read

Contact tracing app will only work if privacy concerns are addressed

Clare Bailey MLA has said that community led contact tracing will only help in dealing with Covid-19 if citizens are assured that their data will be used appropriately. 

The South Belfast MLA’s comments came as MLAs questioned Health Minister Robin Swann in the Assembly yesterday(Thursday 31 April) on the local roll-out of the contact tracing app, expected to go live in a number of weeks.

Clare Bailey MLA said: “Contact tracing will have to be a big part of the solution to any exit from lockdown measures, alongside widely available testing. 

“I asked Minister Swann today for details on who will own the IT systems and who will have access to the data collected. 

“The Minister wasn’t able to provide that information but I appreciate his explanation that the app development is being managed by the Westminster government. 

“However, uptake of the contract tracing app will depend on community confidence in the system. A huge part of that will be transparency around how the data is used and assurances on potential abuses of personal data by the state and private interests. 

“I have concerns around this Tory government and the misuse of personal data given the involvement of key ministers in the Leave EU campaign and their reported relationship with Cambridge Analytica.”

Clare continued:

“Evidence from Singapore shows that contract tracing can be successful in dealing with Covid-19.“Importantly, Singapore also shows that citizens will voluntary take up the app if they understand how it works and are confident that their data will not be abused.

“People across Northern Ireland are looking for a way through this crisis. Contact tracing will only form part of the solution if we can be sure that we’re not paying the price with our privacy.”


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