NHS app: Harriet Harman questions why Government won't legalise data protection bill

15 May 2020, 16:09

By Fiona Jones

The Joint Committee on Human Rights have produced a data protection bill which chair Harriet Harman is urging Parliament to pass before the national roll-out of the NHS contact tracing app.

Harriet Harman has previously voiced concerns about the data safety of the NHS app which is currently being piloted on the Isle of Wight.

She said as people return to work and school, "Contact tracing is going to become more and more important...people need the assurance that personal data is going to be really properly looked after to make sure they do download the app and keep it on their phone.

"I'm slightly in the dark here as to why the Government wouldn't want to put it into law when it will provide people with reassurance...to download the app," she said, pointing out that it is a measure which "only works if a lot of people do it."

"What I don't want is for the Government to find themselves in a situation where there is a data breach scare and everybody deletes the app from their phone and then we can't go forward with what we need which is the progressive unlocking of the economy.

"If the Government won't bring it forward, I'll do it," she said.

The bill includes the following restrictions:
- the government would only able to access data for the Covid crisis
- only certain approved organisations could access this data
- the app would be deleted at the end of the crisis