UK's contact tracing apps are now able to intercommunicate
London - The UK's contract tracing apps are now able to intercommunicate.
The separate Covid-19 apps - England and Wales' NHS Covid-19, Northern Ireland's StopCOVID, Protect Scotland, Jersey COVID Alert and Beat COVID Gibraltar - allow people to be matched from different areas within the United Kingdom.
The various platforms use Bluetooth signals to note when two people's smartphones come into close proximity, and these readings can be used if one of them is infected with the coronavirus and registers the diagnosis.
Now, all the apps can access the anonymised IDs of people with positive tests, with the services sharing a server set up by Scotland via Amazon Web Services.
Gaby Appleton - director of product for Test and Trace at the Department of Health and Social Care - wrote online: "While the majority of us will not be travelling under the current restrictions, this update will provide protection for those who have to continue to travel to other areas of the UK for essential reasons, such as work.
"It is important to note that this update does not compromise our commitment to privacy."
No personal information will be exchanged, and outside agencies - which include the government and police - will not be able to identify people through the apps.
However, it should be noted that the UK's services can't communicate with the European equivalents.
A European Commission spokesman tod the BBC: "The UK could theoretically participate until end-2020, but has not shown interest so far.
"From 2021 on, participation would depend on a public health agreement between the EU and the UK."
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