UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won’t work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

The Register

Britain is sleepwalking into another coronavirus disaster by failing to listen to global consensus and expert analysis with the release of the NHS COVID-19 contact-tracking app.

On Monday, the UK government explained in depth and in clearly written language how its iOS and Android smartphone application – undergoing trials in the Isle of Wight – will work, and why it is a better solution to the one by Apple and Google that other nations have decided to adopt. It has also released a more technical explanation.

Unfortunately for folks in UK, while the explanation is coherent, calm, well-reasoned and plausible, it is likely to be a repeat of the disastrous “herd immunity” policy that the government initially backed as a way to explain why it didn’t need to go into a national lockdown. That policy was also well-reasoned and well-explained by a small number of very competent doctors and scientists who just happened to be completely wrong.

Here’s what happening: there are broadly two types of coronavirus contact-tracing apps; those that are centralized and those that are decentralized. The first takes data from people’s phones and saves it on a central system where experts are trusted to make the best possible use of the data, including providing advice to people as and when necessary.

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