Tory ministers have paused a planned update to the Serco Covid-19 app after Apple & Google blocked it from their stores over privacy violations.
A new version of the app was planned to automate reporting further, asking users’ permission to upload their venue history if they test positive.
The move, however, broke the rules set by Apple and Google when they built the contact-tracing technology last summer, leading both to prevent the government rolling out the new version of the app.
When the government tried to publish the new version, however, both companies said that any app using the Exposure Notification API had to treat all data collected the same and declined to update the versions on users’ phones.
But the terms under which the government is able to use the the Exposure Notification API explicitly bars it from creating apps that “share location data from the user’s device with the public health authority, Apple or Google”.
The terms regarding sharing location data under which governments can use the Exposure Notification API are very clear. This is why other governments which respect and abide by rules, laws and licencing agreements created a separate app for checking in a physical locations such as pubs.