Covid 19 contact tracing

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 19th June 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Dismore Andrew Dismore Labour

The Government intends to use an app to aid its Covid 19 contact tracing; are you satisfied that the app proposed will work in London; and are you satisfied with the data protection arrangements for the app?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

I am committed to working with the Government, London’s boroughs and NHS London to support the NHS test and trace service and save lives, whilst being clear that the use of digital technology must have strong safeguards for Londoners security and privacy.

I wrote to the Secretary of State in May regarding the deployment of the NHSX app in London, expressing my concerns around its effectiveness in our dense, highly populated areas; contingencies for those that are digitally excluded; security and privacy considerations; and London’s capacity to undertake the mass testing and contact tracing required to slow the disease. I emphasised the need to incorporate the Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) advice when developing the NHSX App and understand there has been active engagement as the pilot on the Isle of Wight developed.

As of 18 June, the UK government is now shifting to a ‘decentralised’ model based on technology provided by Apple and Google, which is more privacy-focused then the original NHXS app approach.

The highest privacy standards are essential to build and maintain the public’s trust, my Chief Digital Officer will continue to monitor the situation and advocate on behalf of Londoners.