UK: 'Public deserve answers' and transparency over contact-tracing app privacy concerns

Health Secretary dismisses Amnesty’s privacy concerns as “completely wrong”

“The public deserve answers and Mr Hancock must ensure that they are forthcoming rather than ploughing ahead without meaningful consultation and transparency” – Kate Allen

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, this morning dismissed Amnesty International’s privacy concerns over coronavirus contact-tracing as “completely wrong”.

Kate Allen, Amnesty UK Director, said:

“The Health Secretary “thinks” he can offer reassurances over the privacy concerns posed by the NHS tracking app. Unfortunately, to date he has failed to present any evidence as to why the current proposal for a centralised database is necessary and lawful. We would urge him to immediately clarify that the concerns raised by Amnesty International have been addressed.  

“We remain concerned that the Government is using the coronavirus pandemic to normalise technologies that threaten our privacy rights, and which the public would not accept in ordinary circumstances.

“Far greater justification and clarity is needed as to why the UK Government is going against the privacy-preserving models of other European governments.

“We understand the importance of easing lockdown restrictions but contact tracing apps remain a big experiment and there is limited evidence to suggest these apps even work in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“The Government doesn’t seem to be listening to human rights concerns and simply dismissing such concerns as “completely wrong” is not acceptable. The public deserve answers and Mr Hancock must ensure that they are forthcoming rather than ploughing ahead without meaningful consultation and transparency.”

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