NHS COVID-19 app

NHS COVID-19 app



The NHS COVID-19 app is the Bluetooth-based contact tracing application developed by the UK National Health Service.

Once the app is download, Bluetooth technology on the phone will record the distance between other phones that also have the app installed. If the user becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, the user can allow the app to inform (in this case) the NHS. This will trigger a notification that the NHS will then send anonymously to all other app users who the user has been in significant contact with over the previous few days. Affected app users will also be sent official NHS advice on what to do next.



Use Cases

Dr Ian Levy – Technical Director of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre – has explained the technology behind the application here.

User privacy is an essential aspect of contact tracing. We cannot over-stress the importance of this. Although we cannot provide specific guidance, there are a number of useful tools to review when considering contact tracing solutions. In no particular order: the Safra Centre at Harvard University has some good resources, there’s a useful checklist of considerations here, and MIT has undertaken extensive work in this area. Privacy International is also exploring different technologies – including Bluetooth (used in many contact tracing solutions). The developers of Singapore’s contact tracing solution also highlight that automated contact tracing is not a panacea.