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Britain Didn’t Want Silicon Valley’s Help on a Tracing App. Now It Does.


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A National Health Service worker testing a contact-tracing app.

Britain will join other countries in designing a new contact-tracing app based on software provided by Apple and Google.

Credit: Isla Binnie/Reuters

For months, British authorities have pursued an app that they promised would help ease the country's coronavirus lockdown, despite growing criticism that it posed privacy risks and would not work well.

On Thursday, officials abruptly reversed course, saying Britain will join other countries and design a new contact-tracing app based on software provided by Apple and Google.

The announcement was an embarrassing turnaround, adding to a string of promises related to the coronavirus that the British government has failed to deliver on. At one point, the government said the contact-tracing technology would be available to the public in May. Now the aim is to have it ready by winter.

British officials had counted on the app, which is intended to alert anyone who may have come near an infected person, such as on a bus or subway, to help lift lockdown orders and prevent a second wave of infections.

 

From The New York Times
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