Lib Dems call for ‘complete transparency’ around new NHS app data

"This is a welcome step to protect public health"

The Liberal Democrat Party has called for intense scrutiny over plans for a new NHS app.

Proposals have been laid out to enable people to voluntarily provide data to provide data, all through an NHS app.

These plans to improve contact tracing are likely to play a huge part in enabling the current lockdown as it is now to be lifted.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the nation at Sunday’s coronavirus press conference to share news of the app.

He explained that the app, currently in development, would let people enter their personal health data, recent contacts and coronavirus symptoms.

In response, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey said the app is a “welcome” step in tackling coronavirus in the UK but that there must be “complete transparency” around.

He said: “With more than 10,000 families now grieving for loved ones who have lost their lives due to Covid 19, we must continue to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus and protect those working on the frontline. 

“Proposals laid out today to allow people to voluntarily provide data through an NHS app to improve contact tracing are likely to be crucial in enabling the UK to move out of the lockdown at some point in the future. This is therefore a welcome step to protect public health.”

Davey added: “However, there must be complete transparency around how the data will be stored and used, coupled with watertight guarantees that data will be anonymised, kept for the shortest possible time, and won’t be shared between government departments. 

“Any proposal on the use of mobile phone data or other technology to track people must also be scrutinised properly by MPs before a final decision is made, further strengthening our argument that Parliament should be recalled urgently.”

Lucy Skoulding is a freelance reporter at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.

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