Ireland opts for different tracing strategy to UK

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The Republic of Ireland will pursue a coronavirus contact-tracing phone app, supported by Apple and Google, which the country’s health minister, Simon Harris, has said “maximises the protection of privacy”. The approach differs from the UK, which is working on its own centralised model run by NHSX, the digital arm of the health service.

The model Ireland will use monitors the spread of Covid-19 by registering contact that people come into via the devices on their person, while the UK’s sends signals back to a server.

Privacy campaigners have claimed that the device-based model is less intrusive and less susceptible to cyber security breaches, but the UK government believes its centralised option will help to collate more data in one place, and thus add greater insight into the nature of the disease.

Rohan Banerjee is a Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman

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