Expert on coronavirus contact tracing app eases concerns over privacy

5 May 2020, 10:48

The man overseeing the ethics of the new coronavirus tracing app explained what he's done to ensure all privacy concerns are addressed.

Sir Jonathan Montgomery is a professor of Healthcare Law at UCL and is chairing the Ethics Advisory Board overseeing the NHS Contact Tracing App.

The testing phase of the coronavirus app starts on the Isle of Wight today, with the plan to roll out distribution of the app to the rest of the UK in the next three weeks.

The app uses bluetooth technology to log the people who you have come into contact with, leading to concerns over privacy.

However, Sir Jonathan explained why people should not be worried.

READ MORE: What is the NHSX coronavirus tracing app and how does it work?

The NHS coronavirus tracing app
The NHS coronavirus tracing app. Picture: PA

He told Nick Ferrari: "I don't think you should have privacy concerns at this stage. It doesn't store your phone number.

"The numbers is uses to connect phones together are randomly-generated. Unlike the Australian version of the app, it doesn't ask for your phone number or your name.

"But we do need to make sure that there isn't any mission creep. There was nothing in the plans that the Ethics Advisory Board has seen that makes us concerned about privacy. But we are saying that should the plan go well and people have ideas about collecting more data, there would need to be choices for people about whether they opt into that.

"The product that we are talking about now is anonymous and very protective of privacy. The Information Commissioner's office has been advising on the development.

"The key thing is to make sure that it stays for the prime purpose of stopping the virus now."

His account was so effective that the guest after him who had concerns about privacy admitted that after hearing him, he would now download the app. Hear it at the top of the page.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Russian invasion of Ukraine made Nato 'look again' at military capability, says defence chief

Russian invasion of Ukraine made Nato 'look again' at military capability, says defence chief

There's an 'ethical and political vacuum in No10', says former chief of staff

There's an 'ethical and political vacuum in No10', says former chief of staff

Nick Ferrari grilled Priti Patel on her Rwanda migrant plan.

Rwanda migrant plan is not 'appalling' but 'should be a deterrent', Priti Patel tells LBC

Exclusive
Lord Bilimoria, outgoing president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) speaks to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

'Reduce taxes now': Outgoing CBI chief calls on Rishi to slash 'highest taxes in 70 years'

Grant Shapps has criticised the RMT leader Mick Lynch.

Rail strike called under 'false pretences' by RMT's '1970s union baron' boss, says Shapps

Ofgem chief warns price cap hike 'could be more' than predicted £800

Ofgem chief warns price cap hike 'could be more' than predicted £800

Exclusive
The chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy has told LBC the industry can be run more effectively with fewer staff.

'Steam age' railway can be run more effectively with fewer staff, rail boss says

Rail strikes will cause "misery for millions"

'Driving unrest and stoking unrealistic expectations': Minister slams RMT ahead of strikes

'What's the point of advisors?!': Nick Ferrari baffled by resignation of Lord Geidt

'What's the point of advisors?!': Nick Ferrari baffled by resignation of Lord Geidt

The minister was speaking to LBC 's Nick Ferrari

Minister calls on Mayor of London to drop congestion charge on rail strike days

Nick reacts to the cancellation of the Rwanda flight

'Who runs Britain?': Nick Ferrari slams 'lefty lawyers' for 'holding UK hostage'

Exclusive
High Court judge has ruled Archie's treatment should be stopped and his life support turned off

'He won't give up': Archie Battersbee's mum vows to fight ruling to end son's life

RMT boss can't rule out general strike and warns 'rich have never been richer'

RMT chief doesn't rule out general strike and says 'rich have never been richer'

Exclusive
The Prime Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Boris Johnson says he is 'bringing in tax cuts as fast as we can'

Exclusive
Boris Johnson defended the government's Rwanda migrant plans

'It’s the government’s job': PM hits back at Charles in Rwanda migrants flights row

Nick Ferrari baffled by anti-smoking watershed recommendation for films like Popeye

Nick Ferrari baffled by anti-smoking watershed recommendation for films like Popeye