Coronavirus alert app forgot to send notifications

The app, which should notify people infected with the coronavirus, did not send notifications. This was faced by hundreds of users from the UK who were in close contact with the infected.

The coronavirus notification app used by the authorities in England and Wales did not warn users in hundreds of cases that they were in close contact with infected people. Because of this error, thousands of people were not warned that they must be in quarantine for two weeks.

The app was launched on September 24 and has been downloaded 19 million times since then. It works on the basis of Google and Apple systems using the Bluetooth Low Energy function, which “communicates” with nearby phones. If someone becomes infected with a coronavirus, he must make a mark in the application, after which this information is sent to everyone who was near the user. The UK originally planned to use its own app, but later changed its plans.

The first application announced by the UK authorities was to use a centralized architecture, which sparked concerns about privacy breaches. The experts noted that despite the fact that the application is voluntary, the authorities will not be able to ensure complete anonymity of the data. They are confident that the state will inevitably gain access to much more information than just contacts with other users of the application.

COVID-19 apps are inspired by the experiences of South Korea and Singapore, where electronic surveillance techniques have helped control the spread of infection. South Korea, which became one of the first countries after China with a large number of people infected with the new type of coronavirus, did without the introduction of serious quarantine. About 3 months after the COVID-19 outbreak spread throughout the country, authorities reported only a handful of cases daily, with only 244 deaths reported in the country.

Earlier, the UK authorities found that 52% of citizens surveyed will install an application on their smartphones that will notify them of the approach of persons infected with the coronavirus.