An update to the UK’s coronavirus contact-tracing app has been blocked by both Apple and Google’s App Stores. as the update breaks rules about collecting location data.
The UK recently attempted to update its COVID-19 contact-tracing app alongside relaxation of lockdown rules in England and Wales. The updated version would have asked users to upload venue check-ins, which share location data.
As reported by BBC News, both Apple and Google ban the collection of any user location data, based on privacy grounds. Both companies have refused to publish the app update, although the previous version of the app remains available to download.
The UK’s Department of Health declined to discuss the rejection when asked for comment by the BBC. The UK had jumped the gun in announcing the new update before it was blocked, the announcement claimed that a “privacy-protecting” approach was being taken.
“The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people, and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy,” said a spokeswoman at the time.
Scotland avoided breaking the Apple/Google agreement by releasing a separate app called “Check In Scotland.”
The UK originally did not use the Apple/Google framework for COVID-19 contact tracing apps, instead, it used its own data-collecting system. That app failed to perform properly. At first, the UK government claimed that no country in the world had been able to use the Apple/Google system successfully, then it adopted the system.