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:
This is the rub – in principle the public support tracking surveillance for health benefits rather than snooping (this from @IpsosMORI 10-13 Apr) but when they see the practice they may need convincing… https://t.co/oGSiNsFmTH pic.twitter.com/wN5kruY3Hx
— Ben Marshall (@BenM_IM) May 4, 2020
— Owain Gardner 🇪🇺🇬🇧🌹 (@Odbe34) May 4, 2020
Right now, there’s only one responsible message about the app right now: don’t download it.
— Paul Bernal (@PaulbernalUK) May 4, 2020
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