Google, Apple Block UK Government Coronavirus App Update Over Privacy Violations

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Breitbart; Google and Apple doing something right for a change, delaying plans by the increasingly intrusive British State to gather absolutely every scrap of information about people’s movements.

COVID-19: NHS coronavirus app update blocked for breaking privacy rules

Under the conditions agreed with Apple and Google, public health authorities are required to not collect location data on users.Alexander Martin

Technology reporter @AlexMartin

An update to the NHS COVID-19 app has been delayed after it was blocked by Apple and Google on privacy grounds.

As coronavirus lockdown measures were eased across the UK from midnight, the NHS COVID-19 app was meant to include a new feature that would have allowed users – once they had tested positive – to upload the list of all venues they had checked in to using a QR code.

But this form of location tracking has been explicitly prohibited on privacy grounds by Apple and Google, who collaborated together to design the exposure notification system used on all iOS and Android devices.

Public health authorities around the world that signed up to the exposure notification system have agreed to never use it to collect location data, but this was what Apple and Google considered would have happened under the update to the app.

Read more:

Of course, the mobile tech giants’ high profile rejection of Britain’s intrusive Covid app likely does little overall to protect your privacy. The Washington Post did an expose in 2019 about the every day mobile apps we voluntarily install which suck commercially valuable data from our lives.

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April 13, 2021 10:06 am

googlie and applet don’t want the competition, they are stealing everyone’s information.

Reply to  2hotel9
April 13, 2021 10:15 am

There was a service in Germany Merkel knows very well, Stasi, they would have been very happy about all these technical possibilities now available 😀

Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 14, 2021 5:06 am

STASI still exists, they just changed name and wardrobe.

Reply to  2hotel9
April 13, 2021 11:23 am

Funny….they aren’t that concerned when they are working eith the Chicoms….

Reply to  Dan
April 13, 2021 11:56 am

I know someone who worked for an IT company which did cyber security for US federal agencies… and also provided cyber security tuition services to the Chinese govt.

anyone see an issue there? The company didn’t…

Vincent Causey
Reply to  Dan
April 13, 2021 11:59 pm

Yes, but they didn’t agree those conditions with the CCP. They did with the UK, apparently.

Reply to  Dan
April 14, 2021 5:05 am

Chicoms own them, just as they bought Faux Joe.

Reply to  2hotel9
April 13, 2021 11:34 am

There is no doubt in my mind that the giant tech. cos give access to our digital data to security agencies worldwide but it is odd they refuse access to the political class. The Edward Snowden documentary Citizen Four exposed that.

Any activity that leaves a digital footprint is being tracked by the telecoms, banks, tech. cos and security agencies.

To preserve some of your privacy, use cash, encrypt communications, leave mobile devices at home and use them as phones not computers and finally use browsers/search engines that do not track/save your queries.

The loss of our privacy is the loss of our freedom.

Eric Harpham
Reply to  S.K.
April 13, 2021 12:39 pm

In the UK do what I do. I have a 5G ready phone which I leave at home unless I am on holiday where I need the many facilities that it gives me but when out in my own town doing routine things, shopping, betting, drinking and eating out (when I should be so lucky) I carry a 2G phone which I normally keep switched off. PLUS do NOT drive a car purchased after Oct 1st 2015 because they all have a tracker in them (google “Ecall”) so the government know where you are and what speed you are doing. How do you think that the police catch so many criminals.

Being tracked does have its advantages however. My wife, who carries her 5G phone everywhere, was fined £70 by Sainsburys, a UK supermarket, for leaving her car in their carpark whilst shopping elsewhere. I got the fine redacted because I was able to prove, using her timeline on the phone that she was in the store and restaurant for all 4 hours. She was helping her two aged, disabled aunts to have a good shop.

Reply to  S.K.
April 14, 2021 5:25 am

“it is odd they refuse access to the political class.” Really? They do it all the time. Zuckee and little Jackee at twatter give people’s personal information to leftist politicians every day, Zuckee has spent several hundred million $ helping Democrat Party and other leftist enemies of America politically. None of it declared as political contributions. Twatter gives the personal data of people opposing the left directly to political organizations so they can attack these people personally, go after their spouses and children, destroy their businesses or have them fired from jobs, all the while silencing them on all the “social media” platforms.

Reply to  2hotel9
April 13, 2021 5:34 pm

A Spy in Our Pocket, as Steve Gibson would say.

Gregory Woods
April 13, 2021 10:33 am

These corporations and many other are jumping on the Global Warming bandwagon….

Reply to  Gregory Woods
April 13, 2021 10:39 am

This linked site cries for beeing “cancel cultured” 😀

Reply to  Gregory Woods
April 13, 2021 11:05 am

So is CNN. Project Veritas broke this a few hours ago:

‘We Were Creating A Story — Our Focus Was To Get Trump Out’ (Climate Change Next)

Chester: “It’s going to be our [CNN’s] focus. Like our focus was to get Trump out of office, right? Without saying it, that’s what it was, right? So, our next thing is going to be climate change awareness.”

Veritas Journalist: “What does that look like?”

Chester: “I don’t know. I’m not sure. I have a feeling that it’s going to be like, constantly showing videos of decline in ice, and weather warming up, and like the effects it’s having on the economy–”

Veritas Journalist: “Who decides that?”

Chester: “Head of the network.”

Veritas Journalist: “Who is that? Is that [Jeff] Zucker?”

Chester: “Zucker, yeah. I imagine that he’s got his council and they’ve all like, discussed, like where they think–”

Veritas Journalist: “So, that’s like the next–”

Chester: Pandemic-like story that we’ll beat to death, but that one’s got longevity. You know what I mean? Like there’s a definitive ending to the pandemic. It’ll taper off to a point that it’s not a problem anymore. Climate change can take years, so they’ll [CNN will] probably be able to milk that quite a bit.

Veritas Journalist: “So, climate change overload.”

Chester: “Be prepared, it’s coming. Climate change is going to be the next COVID thing for CNN.”


Veritas Journalist: “You think it’s going to be just like — a lot of like, fear for the climate?”

Chester: “Yeah. Fear sells.”

This exposé won’t stop it, but at least we all here at WUWT will the theater programme / playbill for the upcoming year. (lol)

Reply to  Anon
April 13, 2021 12:15 pm

Used to be the great stood on the shoulders of giant.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  Anon
April 13, 2021 12:25 pm

CNN appears to have abandoned any pretext of being a news outlet if the above comment is any indication. Having a political agenda that forms the basis for and drives what you do makes you anything but a news outlet.

I would suggest that if CNN is going to kick its climate alarmist campaign into high gear
they should be required to go off-grid and run their operations exclusively on wind and solar. That would be fun to watch.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 13, 2021 8:14 pm

When the wind was blowing.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 14, 2021 4:05 am

Look at what they are admitting in the Gaetz “scandal”, and all their in kind politicking for the Democrat Party. Their climate agitprop is just one leg of the stool.

Reply to  Anon
April 13, 2021 12:30 pm

CNN had to come up with some new threat because their viewership fell by approximately 50% after the election.

Justin Burch
April 13, 2021 10:43 am

I suspect this might also have something to do with the fact that the UK government is no longer accepting SAGE data in deciding their government policy about COVID.
However, senior scientific experts within the government told The Telegraph that the modelling was based on shaky presuppositions and that any further potential outbreak would not occur until at least the autumn months, even if mask-wearing and other restrictions are scrapped.”

David Guy-Johnson
April 13, 2021 10:55 am

Google and Apple will kill people by doing this

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
April 13, 2021 11:26 am

… says the COVID bedwetters.

Governments everywhere now depend on attitudes like this to grow bigger and more powerful with each passing day to deliver an illusion to easily duped people like David.

Benjamin Franklin famously said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” He understood the elitist British rulers’ mindset. Not much has changed in 240 years.

Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
April 13, 2021 11:53 am

Serf, if you really think that your owners should know everywhere you’ve been today, I believe that the UK government still has an email address or two?

Meanwhile, the (few) freemen in the country will go about their business without an overseer hanging over their shoulders.

Curious George
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
April 13, 2021 1:06 pm

a new feature that would have allowed users – once they had tested positive – to upload the list of all venues they had checked in to using a QR code.”

A feature would ALLOW users to upload data – what’s wrong with it?

Reply to  Curious George
April 14, 2021 9:11 am

The regulation that would come with it. Reading something like: “Every venue open to the public shall prominently post their assigned QR code at their entrance. The venue shall refuse entry and/or service to any person who does not scan the code before entering the venue.”

That’s how you enforce such garbage these days – make the business do it for you, under threat of dire consequences. Half (or more) of the people will then blame the business for the idiocy.

Same as with a lot of taxes – tax the business unmercifully, which inevitably gets passed on to the consumer, but the business takes the blame for raising their prices. (Note Psaki’s lie that utility bills aren’t going to go up, among everything else, when the Harris administration gets its massive tax increase.)

Edited for italics. I REALLY HATE having to use a widget bar!

Craig from Oz
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
April 13, 2021 5:43 pm

and having killed those people, will sell the voting rights to those who need to ‘Fortify’ elections.

Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
April 14, 2021 9:16 am

By facilitating the activities of pantifa and Black Lies Matter they already have blood on their hands, same with their spreading the lies about Chinese Disease and a long list of other leftarded garbage.

CD in Wisconsin
April 13, 2021 11:34 am

“Google and Apple doing something right for a change, delaying plans by the increasingly intrusive British State to gather absolutely every scrap of information about people’s movements.”

The more I hear and read about things like this, the more I find myself simpathyzing with Libertarians and the philopsophy of libertarianism (again). The more the masses want and expect from government, the more The State takes on the characteristics of Big Brother from Orwell’s novel.

I was Libertarian back in my younger days, but dropped my support for them when it became apparent to me that the Libertarian Party wasn’t going to become any serious threat to the Republicans and Democrats so far as I could tell. They still aren’t.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 14, 2021 9:07 am

I left the LP for similar reasons. The LP’s biggest fault is its inability to engage in any sort of concerted action. It’s a bunch of small groups scattered around the country, influencing almost nothing (sometimes they have a small impact) and getting nothing accomplished. I’ve often said that if they would focus their entire national effort, they could make an impact. For example, the full LP working together to elect a Libertarian governor (although probably not somewhere like CA or NY) or flip a state legislature might have a decent chance at success, and could make a notable impact on the national scene.

But they seem to be incapable of that. Lately, they even seem to be incapable of getting actual libertarians as their nominees.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
April 14, 2021 9:17 am

They might do a bit better if they were actually libertarian. But, like the other two, their name has very little to do with their policies.

April 13, 2021 11:46 am

Google and Apple are worried about user data? If they say so…

As for the app, thanks but no thanks

Reply to  fretslider
April 14, 2021 9:08 am

Maybe they’re upset because the apps aren’t sharing the data…

Peta of Newark
April 13, 2021 11:49 am

Maybe, just maybe, skeptix should embrace un-reliable energy.

IOW. Switch the effing thing off now and again
Like South Africa does, as reported here recently.

Lets start with 3 hour-long power outages, at random times, twice per day.

lets take some stress off people, lets give them a chance to properly socialise, give them a break from generating tax revenue.
Break the chains, lose what are effectively shackles.

The kids know already. It is in our genes. It is our instinct.
Or was, until sugar destroyed it, and us.

Face it, 24/7 electricity is simultaneously a Comfort Blanket and Slave Driver.

Just Switch It Off
What are you scared of…..

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 13, 2021 11:57 am

That only happens in Texas. Not in modern grids with high renewable content like UK and Germany

Reply to  griff
April 13, 2021 12:22 pm

Oh deary me, your going to get some stick for that one. I’ll come back in about three hours should make for some entertaining bedtime reading. Cheers.

Reply to  griff
April 13, 2021 1:08 pm

I’m looking at Gridwatch and the UK network currently has wind producing 1% of our electricity and solar producing 0%. It’s going to be pretty windless for the next few days in the UK. Explain to me Griff how the UK would survive the next few days if it didn’t have gas, coal and nuclear power stations to step in to fill the void of no wind or solar. Bear in mind we have around 37GW of wind and solar capacity built and paid for at huge expense – currently producing 0.53GW.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  MrT
April 13, 2021 2:41 pm

And don’t forget, what little wind power you ARE getting presently is supported by either coal or natural gas running backup.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  griff
April 13, 2021 10:56 pm

In Germany at the start of this year they finally started their Case Griff master plan to phase out coal power and started switching off 4.7 GW of coal plants.

EIGHT days later they started switching them on again.

Reply to  griff
April 14, 2021 12:53 am

A few days ago I did a quick back of envelope calculation.

At 1pm, I checked with “I Am Kate” on demand which stood at 38.5GW.

Wind represented 18% (7.5GW), solar, 10.2% (3.85GW) and the rest by fossil fuel, nuclear and other energy including imported.

At 7pm, these figures had changed to demand 39GW, wind 9.4% (3.9GW) and solar 1.8% (0.7GW). gas and coal had been ramped up to meet the shortfall.

Wind, with a maximum capacity of 24.1GW only produced 31% of it’s installed capacity during the day and 16% of it’s installed capacity during the evening.

With an installed capacity of 13GW, solar managed 30% of it’s installed capacity during the day and, unsurprisingly, by 7pm produced just 14% of it’s installed capacity.

On a typical day in April, if we were to rely on unreliables we would have to more than sextuple the number of wind mills.

And even then the UK would still have to run fossil fuel and nuclear power stations for when the wind doesn’t blow.

Solar is just ridiculous for anything other than a bit of hot water during the day.

We could argue the figures above as much as we like. My quick calculations are probably wrong, but the fact remains wind and solar will never be a reliable form of energy.

When are you going to accept this, Griff?

Reply to  Redge
April 14, 2021 2:12 am

And at 10 am this morning solar is providing 12% and wind 1.8%.

Reliable energy is providing the rest with gas at 54% and nuclear 14.2%. The rest is a combination of interconnectors and other energy.

When will you learn, Griff?

Reply to  Redge
April 14, 2021 5:50 am

And at 2pm this afternoon, demand is 37.1GW. Wind is delivering a whopping 0.81GW and solar an equally whopping 5.27GW. Biomass is 2.29GW.

Reliable coal is delivering more than wind and almost as much as biomass shipped across the Atlantic.

But yeah, lets close all reliable evil fossil fuel and nuclear plants only delivering 25.5GW.

Reply to  griff
April 14, 2021 5:26 am

And another lie from griffiepoo. It just can’t help itself.

Reply to  griff
April 14, 2021 8:17 am

I knew you wouldn’t respond Griff, so I’ll just leave this here

Count your lucky stars we have cheap reliable energy to back up expensive unreliable wind and solar

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 13, 2021 12:10 pm

Don’t switch it off now and again. Switch it off and get rid of it. The world won’t stop just because Auntie May can’t get hold of you right away to tell you the canary is sick. That news can be put on hold until you get back home and can answer the landline phone. Similarly your friends don’t need to know right away that the swan in the pond in the park has started to build a nest.

Reply to  Oldseadog
April 13, 2021 6:29 pm

Can you send photos, or maybe a feature length 4k video?

April 13, 2021 11:55 am

US citizens should be worrying about Palantir, not temporary public health tracking by UK govt

Reply to  griff
April 13, 2021 1:16 pm

You didn’t understand the goal of the article, who wonders 😀

Reply to  griff
April 14, 2021 4:15 am

hes right about this 😉

April 13, 2021 12:06 pm

Maybe they can see a downside. Remember that their staff are human.

April 13, 2021 1:07 pm

Aerosol researchers: Corona contagions almost only indoors
What are alternatives to strict lockdowns?
Experts on aerosols – the air mixtures in which the corona virus also hovers – address politicians with clear words: 
“If you meet for coffee in the pedestrian zone, you don’t have to invite anyone into your living room”

April 13, 2021 1:13 pm

The curfews also promise more than they can deliver, in the view of the researchers. “They do not prevent clandestine meetings indoors, but merely increase the motivation to evade government orders even more,” they write. “Wearing a mask in the pedestrian zone and then having a coffee table in your own living room without a mask is not what we as experts understand by infection prevention.” With exit restrictions, politicians want to prevent people from meeting at all temporarily.

German source

Curious George
April 13, 2021 1:20 pm

“The day after lockdown eased .. a potentially serious outbreak.”

This looks like the lockdown did not work. Or does the SA variant have an extremely short incubation period?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Curious George
April 13, 2021 5:06 pm

Right … that’s provided any such thing exists at all. The authorities have picked up on and are now taking full advantage of the ability to spread fake news at will. Don’t be naive by asking; “why would they do that?” They do it for the power.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Curious George
April 14, 2021 6:02 am

More people than that are shot by gangs in Chicago on a normal weekend.

April 13, 2021 1:39 pm

Everyone must give up all their freedoms, walk around in a bubble suit, and agree to full government monitoring. if we don’t someone, somewhere may catch a disease.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Stevek
April 13, 2021 2:52 pm

I’m amazed at how quickly non stop media reminders has turned an entire population into fearful wimps. No one is even asking the right questions any more. What happened to the seasonal flu, colds and a whole list of other inflictions? We;re getting played.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
April 13, 2021 3:16 pm

Notice how the government never tells us what the acceptable level of deaths are. Seems they are okay with say 50k deaths per year in USA due to flu. I’m not sure why 50k is small enough to not lock down. never trust anyone that can’t answer a simple question.

Reply to  Stevek
April 13, 2021 3:14 pm

French Protest song against Corona restrictions “Dance Again” (Danser encore) goes viral:

Reply to  Stevek
April 14, 2021 10:31 am

That seems about where we are. I’ve already heard plenty of talk about lockdowns and mask mandates during a regular flu season in the future.

Rory Forbes
April 13, 2021 2:48 pm

The day after lock-down eased in the U.K. we have had a potentially serious outbreak of the S.A. Variant in South London.

I say NONSENSE! It isn’t physically possible for any organism to become critical in so short a period of time, not to mention find enough hosts to be called an “outbreak”. How utterly credulous can people get? Dear Gawd. Grow a pair of balls!

April 13, 2021 3:28 pm

Two wrongs make a right, apparently.

April 13, 2021 5:00 pm

But hey, isn’t tracking spread and carriers going to be a little difficulty without location data?

Patrick MJD
April 13, 2021 9:50 pm

In this COVID-19 sc@mdemic and “climate change” UK Govn’t “reach” in to personal lives is astounding. There is pressure to deploy a contract tracing app for entering shops. If you want to go to a pub, you need to sit outside and order online and someone, wrapped in PPE, will deliver the drink to you. Now the Govn’t will force home owners to install heat pumps replacing gas boilers. And if you don’t you can’t re-mortgage or sell your house.

April 14, 2021 1:58 am

In denying the full use of the new tracing app Google and Apple will likely have blood on their hands.

Denying the use of affordable energy, Greens have blood on their hands

Exploiting child labour for mining rare earths, Greens have blood on their hands

April 14, 2021 4:11 am

The US has effectively declared war on Britain in regard to the covid19 pandemic – first destroying AstraZeneca, now blocking UK government apps.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
April 14, 2021 6:18 am

Google and Apple are not the US. They are also waging war on the US, stifling any discussion that goes counter to their political views (those that allow them to make the most money).

April 14, 2021 8:48 am

“Privacy violations” that’s rich, especially from the goog.

April 15, 2021 10:55 am

the NHS should have known that the only ones authorized to obtain your location data are google and apple

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