• UK said to be on verge of major technology shift for Covid-19 contact-tracing app

    The UK government’s Covid-19 contact-tracing app could be in the throes of a radical alteration in its nature, just as it has become available to download and use in its test zone on the Isle of Wight, based on a controversial centralised database that has drawn the ire of privacy and communications experts alike.

    Developed by NHSX, the digital innovation arm of the UK’s health service, the contract-tracing app works by using Bluetooth to automate the “laborious” process of contact tracing and has the goal of reducing transmission of the virus by alerting people who may have been exposed, so

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  • Privacy International to Palantir: We are watching you

    Civil liberties campaigning group Privacy International continues to question the role of Silicon Valley data mining company Palantir in the NHS’s Covid-19 data management and analysis programme.

    Palantir in the UK is building the front-end data integration platform to a data store specific to the current pandemic, using its Foundry software.

    NHSX and NHS England Improvement reported at the end of March that they had engaged Palantir alongside Microsoft, Google and London-based AI firm Faculty to build an ad-hoc data store to “provide those national organisations responsible for coordinating the response [to the Covid-19 pandemic] with secure, reliable and timely

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  • Zoom buys secure messaging service Keybase

    Unified communications and collaboration service Zoom is to acquire Keybase – a developer of secure messaging and file-sharing services – to help build scalable end-to-end encryption into its video-conferencing platform.

    Zoom shot to prominence at the beginning of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic during the widespread transition to remote working, and has been dogged by accusations of lax cyber security, which it is currently attempting to address through a rapid programme of innovation and development. The proposed acquisition of Keybase is another step in this strategy.

    “This acquisition marks a key step for Zoom as we attempt to accomplish the

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