Holding Scotland’s digital Covid-19 response to a high standard

Open Rights Group (ORG) is pressing the Scottish Government to commit to strong privacy protections for their test and trace system.

First signs point toward a more privacy conscious approach in comparison with the UK Government’s plan, but this is far from certain.

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We need proof of privacy standards

Developed by the Digital Health and Care Institute, Scotland’s manual test and trace system is a far cry from the NHSX’s bluetooth-powered tracker app.

Scotland’s plan uses a web tool allowing individuals with confirmed cases of Covid-19 to input contact details of people they have been in direct contact with. These individuals would then be asked to self-isolate for 14 days and to book a test if they develop symptoms.

Though less invasive than the NHSX’s tracker app, the Scottish system involves an unprecedented collection of sensitive personal data and therefore requires privacy due diligence before rollout.

In May ORG joined academics, policy experts and activists to ask Scotland’s Health Secretary and the Digital Health and Care Institute about the system’s privacy and human rights risks. ORG also wrote to three local health boards currently trialing the system, as well as the Scottish Parliament.

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The Story So Far

Protect Scotland App launches

Note: 25 September – this blog, originally published on 10 September 2020 has been updated with links to Protect Scotland’s transparency section.
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We need to see proof of Scotland’s contact tracing privacy standards

As test and trace programmes are launched across the United Kingdom its time to revisit whether we have any further clarity on the privacy impact assessments of Scotland’s plans.
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Scotland’s different path on contact tracing is to be welcomed, but questions remain

Scotland seems to be taking a different path on the question of covid19 contact tracing, while this is welcome, questions remain the need to make sure this works for all of Scotland.
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