Mobile AppsMobility

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock Launches Own Social Networking App

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

MP launches his own smartphone app, amid fears from some Apple users that it contains a privacy flaw

Culture and Digital Secretary Matt Hancock has become the first MP to create their own smartphone application.

But the launch of the app has been overshadowed after it was revealed that the Apple version of the app contains a potential privacy violation as it requests access to people’s photo libraries.


Social App

A lot of thought has gone into the naming of the social networking app, which is simply called ‘Matt Hancock MP’ and it is described on the App Store as the “Official App for Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”

People who download the app will be able to follow updates from Hancock and his team on various national and local matters. The App is also intended to “inform and update West Suffolk constituents in particular and promote a healthy, open and impartial debate within its community.”

Members can connect with each other, share views and raise questions to Matt. It includes a direct messaging option and community section.

According to the BBC, first-time users are greeted with a cheery video of Mr Hancock saying: “Hi I’m Matt Hancock and welcome to my app.”

“It’s a chance to find out what’s going on both in my role as MP for West Suffolk and as culture secretary, and most importantly it’s a chance for you to tell me what you think, and to engage with others on issues that matter to you,” he is quoted as saying.

Privacy Issue?

But there has been some concern expressed about the app from Apple users.

A Daily Mirror reporter for example tweeted about the privacy implications after the app showed an on-screen prompt asking for access to his photo library.

The app seems to gain access to the user’s photo library, even if the user denies the app access.

The developers behind the Matt Hancock app have denied the app has a bug or a security breach, saying it had been certified by Apple and “uses standard Apple technology, for example iOS photopicker technology for access to the camera”.

Hancock was promoted to culture secretary in Theresa May’s recent cabinet reshuffle.

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