UK gives up on centralized coronavirus contacts-tracing app

The idea behind the NHS app was that it could trace anybody that a person with coronavirus symptoms came into close contact with by using the Bluetooth  connectivity on a standard smartphone, and notify them to self-isolate.

UK gives up on centralized coronavirus contacts-tracing app
UK gives up on centralized coronavirus contacts-tracing app

UK gives up on centralized coronavirus contacts-tracing app

As per BBC report, the UK has given up building a centralized coronavirus contacts-tracing app and will instead switch to a decentralized app architecture. The idea behind the NHS app was that it could trace anybody that a person with coronavirus symptoms came into close contact with by using the Bluetooth  connectivity on a standard smartphone, and notify them to self-isolate.

The UK’s decision to abandon a bespoke app architecture comes more than a month after ministers had been reported to be eyeing such a switch. They went on to award a contract to an IT supplier to develop a decentralized tracing app in parallel as a backup — while continuing to test the centralized app, which is called NHS COVID-19.

The UK’s NHS COVID-19 app, has not progressed past field tests, after facing a plethora of technical barriers and privacy challenges — as a direct consequence of the government’s decision to opt for a proprietary system which uploads proximity data to a central server, rather than processing exposure notifications locally on device.

The Department of Health and Social Care refused to say how much had been spent on the effort, although official records show three contracts worth £4.8m were awarded to the developer VMWare Pivotal Labs for work on the app.