Third of IT experts believe Government's COVID-19 tracing app will not be useful in containing virus, according to survey

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19th May 2020 16:08 - Information Technology

Third of IT experts believe Government's COVID-19 tracing app will not be useful in containing virus: A survey of IT experts has revealed insight into how well they believe the Government's UK coronavirus contact tracing app will perform in helping halt the spread of COVID-19.

The survey by BCS (British Computer Society) polled 1716 IT professionals asking them about their thoughts relating to the app, with a third saying they believe the app will not help in terms of containing the outbreak. 

Fewer than a quarter said they think the tool will be effective, while just less than half (45%) were not certain either way, recording 'undecided' as their verdict. 

Around two-fifths of respondents (42%) said they would download the app when it is rolled out nationally after trials conclude on the Isle of Wight, however more than a third (36%) said they did not plan to download the app, and a further fifth (21%) are currently undecided. 

When asked about their concerns over the app, seven in ten (69%) said security, followed by privacy (67%). 

Just 23% said they are in favour of the centralised model of the app the Government plan to use, while half were in favour of the Apple and Google decentralised approach, which would see data kept between smartphones and not held centrally on a database.

Dr Bill Mitchell, director of policy at the BCS, said:

“BCS is clear that if done ethically and competently a tracing app can make a huge contribution to stopping the spread of Covid-19.

“But a majority of our members don’t believe the current model will work and are worried about the reliance on a centralised database."

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