Conservative contact tracer app may be a front for covert surveillance

Is this yet another conspiracy theory? Maybe not – it seems to have the ring of truth about it.

The Tories are using the Isle of Wight to test a new contact tracing app – ostensibly to help the treatment of coronavirus, but possibly as a means of quietly watching everything users do.

Conservative governments have form with regard to covert surveillance. David Cameron’s Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 granted the government huge powers to watch your communications – albeit with safeguards demanded by MPs who were concerned about the erosion of civil liberties.

Now, concerns have been raised that the Tory app will infringe people’s civil liberties by gathering data on their movements and uploading their contact lists.

It seems Tories like Matt Hancock want everybody in the UK to download and use the app, providing the government with an enormous amount of data on their personal lives.

The demand is meeting resistance:

In the Commons, Marcus Fysh warned “widespread surveillance” was “not acceptable” in Britain, and it was essential the system was voluntary.

“We’re not a people who take well to surveillance and it’s a little ironic that the country that has probably been surveilling its population more than any other appears to have been the source of this virus,” he said, referring to China.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said… “We’re extremely concerned that the Government may be planning to route private data through a central database, opening the door to pervasive state surveillance and privacy infringement, with potentially discriminatory effects,” she said.

Tory officials insist the app is designed with privacy and security “front of mind” with the data stored on an individual’s phone until the point they contact the NHS to report symptoms and request a test.

But Tory officials also supported Hancock when he lied to us all that he had reached his target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day. He should have been forced to resign over that but he hasn’t even apologised.

On Twitter, matters seem straightforward:

Source: Trial of coronavirus contact-tracing app begins on Isle of Wight – ITV News

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14 Thoughts to “Conservative contact tracer app may be a front for covert surveillance”

  1. SteveH

    Dr Rosena Allin-Khan‏ gives Matt Hancock a hard time

    Dr Rosena Allin-Khan‏Verified account @DrRosena

    Full question and answer here.
    The testing strategy has been non-existent and now the figures are being manipulated. We need transparency – not political soundbites.

    https://twitter.com/DrRosena/status/1257645036092694529

  2. trev

    I doubt the App will even work on my old phone anyway, and they wouldn’t find anything very interesting about my movements or contacts as I hardly ever go anywhere or have any contact with anyone, lockdown or no lockdown.

    1. SteveH

      The Google solution has been designed to work with Android 6 onwards.

      1. trev

        I’m on a Nokia Lumia 830 running Windows 8.1 , even Whatsapp stopped working.

  3. The Toffee (597)

    “We’re not a people who take well to surveillance and it’s a little ironic that the country that has probably been surveilling its population more than any other appears to have been the source of this virus,” he said, referring to China.”

    London = 68.4 cameras per 1,000 people

    Wuhan = 60.49 ” ”

    https://www.comparitech.com/vpn-privacy/the-worlds-most-surveilled-cities/

    1. Bal S

      Theresa May’s Snoopers Charter has obviously disappeared down the collective memory hole.

  4. SteveH

    For those interested in how other countries are approaching this here are the details of the EU’s Covid-19 App which the UK turned down an invitation to join.
    https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/fighting-coronavirus-a-new-infection-alarm-system-on-your-smartphone-a-b4b35e3c-6499-4487-a689-6008d8d7ecc8

  5. The Toffee (597)

    Another thing…

    I thought you were meant to keep a 2m distancing between yourself and others, for safety?

    So why’s this app is for people you come INTO CONTACT with?

  6. The Toffee (597)

    Also,

    GPS tracking can only narrow your position down to within 4.9 metres.

    https://www.ion.org/publications/abstract.cfm?articleID=13079

    ” Open-sky GNSS accuracy with smartphones has often been claimed to be “about 5 meters”, in fact this was the answer to an in-course quiz question in one of the lectures. In this lab, with over one thousand participants in one hundred countries, the measured mean accuracy, remarkably, came to 4.9 meters”

  7. Ray

    big brother watching you 1984 style. no thanks the tory know thay can stick where the sun don`t shine.

  8. Dan

    I won’t be downloading any government app voluntarily – whatever it’s for – and if it’s compulsory I guess I’ll just leave the phone at home. I trust the government about as far as I can throw Big Ben and I’ll go to hell if I’ll help them build up a file on me.

  9. timfrom

    “May be a front”? No **** Sherlock! Same goes for a Gates vaccine…

    1. Mike Sivier

      There’s a “no swearing” rule on this site as I believe you know. Please stop or you will be banned from commenting.

  10. As long as your phone is on, the network providers know where it is. The UK government is well-renowned for attempts to force the companies to do their will. Without meaning to be a conspiracy theorist, it wouldn’t surprise me if they tried to get a sleekit app pushed onto phones. I wouldn’t trust this gang with any of my data, although they probably have enough already to sell to Trump.

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