The Government has now confirmed that they are no longer planning to roll out nationally the contact-tracing App which has been trialled on the Isle of Wight since May 5. There have so far been no details released about the total cost of the experiment. Further work will be taking place on a new App using technology from Apple and Google which offers more privacy, as it was predicted by some experts that the Government would face legal challenges about the way in which the NHSX app used data.
Another problem with the bespoke app produced by NHSX was that on iphones the App only identified about 4 per cent of contacts as it faded into the background a short time after it was activated and did not then record contacts made. On Android phones it acheived around 75 per cent accuracy. It is hoped that the new App, which may not be available until the end of the year, will accurately trace 99 per cent of contacts. However the Government are claiming that the NHSX app was more accurate in measuring proximity than the Google/Apple version and they hope to use this knowledge to improve the final app.
After initially praising the takeup of the app on the Island and the success of the trial, the Government is now saying that it has become clear that a human approach to track and trace is more important than a technology based system.
Richard Quigley for Island Labour said: “Obviously it’s disappointing that the trial isn’t leading anywhere. However, even if the Government was unable to take this further, Isle of Wight residents should still be proud that so many of them were willing to participate in trying to make something constructive happen during the crisis.”