NHS Contact Tracing App is Now Live, Possibly by Mistake

By Shabana Arif on at

The NHSX contact tracing app has appeared in the Google Play Store, but we suspect it's either gone live before it should have, or some pillock has botched the roll-out; either option seems plausible given the history of the thing.

Last we heard, the app had been delayed yet again with a launch date of July pencilled in, which fits in nicely with phase three of the lockdown exit strategy which will the hospitality industry reopen as well as other public places like cinemas. A likely cause for the delay was issues with Bluetooth, and the possibility (once again) of switching over to Apple/Google's API.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case, and the government is apparently to gather data it doesn't need, and store it in such a way that it's not nearly as secure as it could be compared to Apple/Google's API, and keep it for as long as it likes. But if you visit the Play Store, there it is, bold as brass, along with a message telling you that it only works on the Isle of Wight.

"This app currently only works on the Isle of Wight. If you live elsewhere in the UK, please keep the app installed and we will let you know when it is ready for you to use."

According to Android Police, the app is even available to download outside of the UK, which is absolutely pointless. Meanwhile, in other countries that haven't bothered to utilise Apple/Google's API, the equivalent apps are riddled with bugs, or being pulled altogether for being too invasive - disproportionately so. Kind of like the one we're getting stuck with. I doubt we'll be so lucky as to have the unnecessary data that'll be collected from us deleted at the behest of a watchdog, so we encourage you to look into the plethora of issues this app and the contact tracing system has before downloading it and handing it over your personal information. [Android Police]