Coronavirus Contact-Tracing Apps Could Pose Major Privacy Risk, Amnesty Warns  !!

Contact-tracing apps being used to prevent the spread of coronavirus could be collecting deeply personal information, Amnesty International has said.

The organisation claims the privacy and security of hundreds of thousands of people have been put at risk by the new platforms.

Contact-tracing apps are software that informs people when they have been in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus.

These vary in terms of features, but can generally be separated into two categories: decentralised apps, where the data is kept on the device, and centralised apps where the data is kept on a separate database.

Amnesty International reviewed software from 11 countries, including Algeria, Bahrain, France, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain’s ‘BeAware Bahrain’ and Kuwait’s ‘Shlonik’ included the most invasive features, with both apps collecting live or “near-live” tracking data.

These two applications used a centralised approach of capturing location data through GPS and upload by adding it to a mass database.

This is the same approach originally proposed for the UK’s contact-tracing application, separate to the infrastructure developed by Apple & Google, although it could be liable to change.

Amnesty International also points out that this location  information can be easily linked to individuals.

Bahrain and Kuwait require citizens to sign up with a national ID number.

The Bahrain government also enrolled people automatically into a national television show offering prizes to those who stayed at home, and published online sensitive information of people who may have Covid-19.

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