UK’s Coronavirus Contact Tracing Apps To Share Data

The three different Coronavirus contact tracing apps used in the United Kingdom, plan to begin sharing data soon, in an effort to halt the spread of the global pandemic.

Two of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom use different contact tracing apps to England and Wales.

Northern Ireland was the first British country to launch when it released its ‘StopCOVID NI’ app in July.

Data sharing

This was followed by Scotland which released its ‘Protect Scotland’ Coronavirus contact tracing app in early  September.

The ‘NHS Covid-19’ app used by England and Wales was launched a couple of weeks after that.

But now according to the BBC, the contact tracing apps in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey will allow residents of those locations, if they travel to each other’s territory, they will now get alerts if they come into contact with an infected person.

And this data sharing agreement will reportedly be available for English and Welsh users of the NHS Covid-19 app next month.

The BBC said that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey are now using what is called a federated server, where the details of positive test results can be stored.

It seems that a person’s phone in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Jersey continually queries that server, and if it “spots the anonymous record of someone with whom there has been a contact, they should receive an exposure notification.”

This means that people do no need to install another country’s app if travelling from say Northern Ireland to Scotland.

The NHS Covid-19 app used in England and Wales will join the federated server in early November, as will users of Gibraltar’s contact tracing app.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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