UK COVID-19 contact tracing app data may be kept for ‘research’ after crisis ends, MPs told

Britons will not be able to ask NHS admins to delete their COVID-19 tracking data from government servers, digital arm NHSX’s chief exec Matthew Gould admitted to MPs this afternoon.

Gould also told Parliament’s Human Rights Committee that data harvested from Britons through NHSX’s COVID-19 contact tracing app would be “pseudonymised” – and appeared to leave the door open for that data to be sold on for “research”.

The government’s contact-tracing app will be rolled out in Britain this week. A demo seen by The Register showed its basic consumer-facing functions. Key to those is a big green button that the user presses to send 28 days’ worth of contact data to the NHS.

Screenshot of the NHSX covid-19 contact tracing app

Screenshot of the NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing app … Click to enlarge

Written by tech arm NHSX, Britain’s contact-tracing app breaks with international convention by opting for a centralised model of data collection, rather than keeping data on users’ phones and only storing it locally.

In response to questions from Scottish Nationalist MP Joanna Cherry this afternoon, Gould told MPs: “The data can be deleted for as long as it’s on your own device. Once uploaded all the data will be deleted or fully anonymised with the law, so it can be used for research purposes.”

Source: UK COVID-19 contact tracing app data may be kept for ‘research’ after crisis ends, MPs told • The Register