Week 1

Week 1 - activities and recap

Welcome to week 1 of the Leaving Lockdown Public Debate.

On this page you can find the slides, recordings and transcripts for the first session, in case you want to remind yourself of what was said and discussed.

We will shortly also be adding the answers to the questions you asked in your break-out groups.

The ideas tool (below) is the one to use for your activity.

Just email the team on covid19deliberation@traverse.ltd if you get stuck.

Welcome to week 1 of the Leaving Lockdown Public Debate.

On this page you can find the slides, recordings and transcripts for the first session, in case you want to remind yourself of what was said and discussed.

We will shortly also be adding the answers to the questions you asked in your break-out groups.

The ideas tool (below) is the one to use for your activity.

Just email the team on covid19deliberation@traverse.ltd if you get stuck.

Week 1 Your Questions and Answers

Here is a place to ask questions.  Each week we will post your questions here, and will do our best to have them answered by our team, or by some of the specialists we are working with. Watch this space, and we'll let you know when we update the answers. 

This week your questions are being answered by Reema, Carly and their colleagues at The Ada Lovelace Institute.

You can also submit your own question at any time, and we will answer it as soon as we can!

You need to be signed in to add your question.

  • are people right to be suspicious of the uk nhsx app in its present form because it did not go out to tender, two data mining companies, Palantir and Faculty are involved, Faculty I think is run by brother of one of Dominic Cummings colleagues , and both brothers have attended secret Sage meetings.

    sylvia asked over 2 years ago

    Answer from Reema and the Ada Lovelace team:

    The NHSX contact tracing app is not (at present) being delivered by a private sector commercial partner. The NHS has opted to develop its own centralised contact tracing app. This is different to, e.g in Germany, where Google and Apple are delivering a decentralised contact tracing app model.

    Palantir and Faculty are supporting the NHS to deliver a data platform, called a ‘data store’, to understand, analyse and visualise the spread of the virus, and anticipate pressures on the NHS’s system. Whilst there are many concerns about the transparency of these contracts, raised by civil society organisations and the British Medical Association (BMA) they don’t relate to the app.

  • Do you have any insight into why the UK government, unlike the Welsh, seems to have no interest in the Kings/ZOE symptom tracker app? I would have thought with data from 3.5m people, admittedly probably a biased sample, it would be valuable for all kinds of purposes.

    Carolyn asked over 2 years ago

    Answer provided by Reema and the Ada Lovelace team:

    Some privacy concerns have been raised about the app. The app privacy policy mentions that anonymised data might be shared with a range of data processors that include a list of private sector companies. The spokesperson also says that the company has been in touch with American hospitals. Their privacy policy notes that it could travel outside of the EU not just for analytics but to be shared with other research partners.

  • The track and trace app needs 60 percent uptake to be effective, in some countries where it is voluntary it has been as low as 20 percent. What would make more people download the app in the uk. would more transparency and truth from the present government increase the uptake.

    sylvia asked over 2 years ago

    This is a great question - but something that we hope to answer together as a group! Syliva - perhaps you could ask this on Thursday / at the next session and see what we hear from others. (Anna, Traverse)

  • Question from full group session: What percentage of users do we need in order for these apps to be useful?

    over 2 years ago

    Experts have previously suggested that 60 percent of UK population will need to download it for the system to work, suggesting that the pilot is close to hitting the target. (Expert in this case on public record is Prof Christope Fraser, University of Oxford, Big Data Institute)

    Source: The Independent,reporting on the requirement for uptake https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-app-uk-nhs-contact-tracing-phone-smartphone-a9484551.html

  • Question from full group session: Do we know if there was the 50% uptake on the Isle of Wight for the digital contact tracing app pilot?

    over 2 years ago

    According to reports from the Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps, over 50% of people on the Isle of Wight have downloaded the new app.

    Recent update shows the Isle of Wight's MP saying that ~65% of people on the island have downloaded the app. 

    Source: https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-isle-of-wight-downloads-of-covid-19-trial-app-exceed-expectations-11990190 

  • Question from full group session:: What are the legal powers for these to be mandatory and is/could the app be compulsory by law?

    over 2 years ago

    The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s privacy regulator. Its recently published guidance and recommendations says that: ‘App use, from installation to sharing of information, should be voluntary with no negative consequences for individuals if they do not take action. Functions should be de-coupled to allow the user to benefit from one function without being compelled to provide data for other functions.’ 

    Source: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/2617676/ico-contact-tracing-recommendations.pdf

    It however, caveats this point with the fact that it will ‘keep these recommendations under review, taking into account how COVID-19 develops’.

    Others have proposed that Parliament introduce a Coronavirus (Safeguards) Bill that explicitly includes principle of non compulsion, so that no one can discriminate against people who have not used or installed an app.  

    Source: Draft Coronavirus Bill https://osf.io/preprints/lawarxiv/yc6xu/

  • Question from full group session: Can you explain about the centralised and decentralisation app options?

    over 2 years ago

    Centralised Model: Here the identifiers are created by a central server, who sends them to the phones. Thus, the server can choose which identifiers to give to particular phones. In this scheme, upon infection the identifiers that have been seen by the infected person’s phone are loaded up into a database, and the central authority has a way of reversing the identifier so as to obtain the actual person. They can then contact the person who was in contact with the infected person.

    Decentralised Model: Here the identifiers are created on each user’s phone. Then, only the identifiers sent by the infected persons phone are loaded into the central database. The non-infected users occasionally read from this central database. They can see locally on their phone whether they have been in contact with an infected user; and can then take appropriate action depending on the prevalent medical advice. But no-one can associate identifiers with actual people.


  • Question from full group session: Are there attempts in the UK to decentralise the saved data as it is done in Germany?

    over 2 years ago

    The UK has opted for a centralised model:

    Argument: a huge amount of false-positives can be generated via Bluetooth. A centralised approach is the only way to make sure that if someone reports being sick, a warning will be sent only to the app users that have come into epidemiologically significant contact with the infected person – and not to the person waiting for the bus on the other side of the road from them.

    Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge: "You can't do that kind of analytics if you take the Google and Apple approach, which will broadcast a warning to everybody that has been registered as soon as someone calls in sick. The problem is that you'll end up getting an alert every so often, advising you to go home and self-isolate, and 99% of the time it's going to be a false positive."

    See also the response to the centralised / decentralised question for more arguments for / against. 

  • Question from full group session: Why did Germany switch from centralised to decentralised?

    over 2 years ago

    In addition to the privacy/rights based concerns about centralisation there have been some practical considerations around supporting efficacy of uptake.

    Germany’s shift was influenced as much by practical concerns as privacy concerns. Apple reportedly refused to unlock iPhone Bluetooth connectivity to allow centralised apps run in the background.

    This would mean phones using the app would have to remain unlocked for it to work, draining phone batteries more quickly.

  • Question from full group session: Have you heard how well it is working? A participant heard people being told they have met someone when they haven’t left the house?

    over 2 years ago

    It is early days yet (not everyone can even use the app) – and there is nothing in the public domain that looks at how well it is working.

    There are media reports that NHSX are now working on a decentralised app but again, nothing confirmed: https://www.digitalhealth.net/2020/05/nhsx-working-on-second-tracing-app-using-apple-and-google-tech/

Page last updated: 23 May 2020, 02:26 AM