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Video: NHS COVID-19 app - protecting your privacy

View transcript of 'NHS COVID-19 app - protecting your privacy' video

The NHS COVID-19 app is the fastest way to see if you are at risk from coronavirus.

It has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts, and QR venue check-in. And it does all this entirely anonymously.

But how?

The app doesn’t need to know who or where anyone is. It works by exchanging randomly-generated codes with other app users you come into contact with. They tell the app if you have been near anyone for more than 15 minutes, at a distance of less than 2 metres.

If someone later reports a positive test result, the app sends an anonymous alert to anyone who may be at risk.

These codes are encrypted and are deleted after 14 days. They cannot be used by the NHS, the government, or anyone else to identify who you are or who you’ve spent time with.

In order for the app to alert you if your area becomes high risk, you will need to give the first few characters of your postcode.

On average, this covers about 8,000 households, so it’s not possible to personally identify you.

The QR code check-in feature works anonymously too. If you’re alerted to a possible outbreak, it does so without identifying the venue or anyone who was there.

The app runs on proven software developed by Apple and Google and their privacy experts have completed a full review of the app. You can delete your data, or the app, at any time.

The app cannot track your location, monitor if you’re self-isolating, or access personal information on your phone, such as messages or contacts.

What it can do, if you download it and keep Bluetooth on, is tell you very quickly if you are at risk from the virus.

Privacy and data security are crucial to the NHS and the government. Every day, people trust us with their personal data and we take this responsibility very seriously. It's at the heart of our relationship with the people we serve. Because of this, we've taken steps to make sure the NHS COVID-19 app protects your privacy and identity.

The NHS COVID-19 app protects your privacy and identity from other app users, and their privacy and identity from you. The app uses random IDs that cannot be used by the NHS or the government to identify who you are, or who you’ve spent time with.

The app cannot:

  • use your GPS location or track where you have been
  • be used to check or monitor if you’re self-isolating
  • be used by law enforcement to identify or track you
  • see personal information on your phone, such as your messages, address book or your phone contacts