Another case of perverse British exceptionalism rumbled late?

Peter Donaghy  vindicated!

An FT exclusive picked up by the Guardian..

The government has left open the prospect of ditching its own contact-tracing app in favour of the “decentralised” model favoured by Apple and Google after it was revealed that a feasibility study into such a change is under way.

After repeated warnings that the UK will be an outlier if it insists on using its own centralised app rather than relying on Google and Apple’s technology, rights groups and MPs said on Thursday that the lack of privacy and data protections could mean that the app would be illegal.

With growing questions over that approach, it emerged that the Swiss-based consultancy Zühlke Engineering has been hired to undertake a two-week “technical spike” to investigate implementing Apple and Google’s system “within the existing proximity mobile application and platform”.

The centralised model brings advantages in terms of useful insights into the spread of the disease, but also imposes technical limitations that the government has not been able to fully overcome. The Guardian reported on Wednesday that the app relies on a form of “Android herd immunity”, facing connectivity issues in situations where there are not enough users of Google’s smartphone operating system.

A switch to the decentralised approach created by Apple and Google themselves would solve these connectivity issues, but limit the visibility the NHS has on the wider spread of the virus.

Photo by Adrianna Calvo is licensed under CC0