UK model was focused around server-client centralized model of coronavirus tracking application. It ringed some bells among privacy activists and led to refusal of Apple and Google to support such apps. Now United Kingdom has to adapt to the rules imposed by mobile OS developers or face the defeat.
The UK would no longer pursue the development of a COVID tracking app that stores the information in a centralized way. Apple and Google do not want to adjust their operating systems for this, which makes developing a centralized app ‘technically impossible’.
The British government is about to announce that it is dropping the centralized corona app, The Guardian writes. The UK corona app tested since June continuously records all bluetooth handshakes a phone makes. This data is hashed and encrypted and stored on a central server. This central server – which is located in the United Kingdom – decides which users should receive a notification. This happens when one of the traced persons is found to be infected with the coronavirus.
British politicians initially had no intention of using the Google and Apple API. Bluetooth data would not be accurate enough for the task. According to the BBC, an iPhone via the Apple-Google model would not notice the difference between a phone 1 meter away and a phone 3 meters away.
The government hopes to find a ‘third way’, according to The Guardian, which works with tech companies to find a solution to the accuracy problem. However, according to The Guardian, the companies did not want to involve in it.
The two tech giants say they only want to adapt their operating systems for governments that use a decentralized model. That is the case with their own API.
The Guardian now claims that the United Kingdom will still use the Apple and Google model, although officials would not be satisfied with that either.
The Guardian writes that Apple phones in particular were the problem for the UK’s centralized approach. After a period of inactivity, these phones enter a ‘sleep mode’, where Bluetooth communication stops.
British developers would have tried to work around this, but they wouldn’t have. According to the newspaper, a British minister admitted on Wednesday that the app would only be ready in the winter.