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Does it threaten privacy rights?

Wednesday 13 May, Webinar 6.00pm

The Government is running a trial of a contact tracing App to fight the spread of COVID-19 on the Isle of Wight.

In their paper, Contact Tracing – what Government must do to achieve take-up and secure privacy [PDF] Lord Sandhurst QC, Benet Brandreth QC and Simon PG Murray argue that the NHS scheme for a contact tracing App must be safeguarded by Parliament to ensure that it is not abused and cannot lead to overreach beyond this specific Emergency.

Our panel discussed the practicality of the roll-out on the Isle of Wight and looked at the implications of the wider use of the app. Does the scheme comply with data protection law? Where might it lead?


Sir Bob Neill MP

Chair of the Justice Committee, House of Commons


UK Contact tracing – What do we know? Where is it going? The position in Eire, France and Germany

Lord Sandhurst QC

Guy practised from One Crown Office Row under his family name as Guy Mansfield QC; he was Chair of the Bar Council in 2005. He was a contributor to Human Rights and Common Law (Hart Publishing 2000). He has recently co-authored, with Benet Brandreth QC and Simon PG Murray, an SCL paper, Contact Tracing – what government must do to achieve take up and secure privacy [PDF arguing that the NHS scheme for a contact tracing App must be safeguarded by Parliament to ensure that it is not abused and cannot lead to overreach beyond this specific emergency. 

The launch in the Isle of Wight: How has it been presented? What’s happening?

Joe Robertson

Joe is a solicitor specialising in corporate and commercial law. He currently works for Dementia UK and has a particular interest in the controlling and processing of clinical data by stakeholders in the health and social care sector. As a resident of the Isle of Wight, Joe is currently taking part in the pilot of the NHS Coronavirus App. He was a Conservative parliamentary candidate in 2019, an election Campaign Manager in 2015 and is an occasional blogger on Conservative Home. Joe is a former President of Hampshire Law Society.

Contact tracing must be properly conducted. The need for public trust, oversight and accountability

Benet Brandreth QC

Benet is a former member of the Attorney-General’s ‘A’ Panel of Counsel and a specialist in intellectual property law.

Protection of user rights, monitoring and automated decision making, prior consultation and e-privacy

Dr Michael Veale

Dr Veale is Lecturer in Digital Rights and Regulation at the Faculty of Laws, University College London, and Digital Charter Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. His work centres on the intersection of law and emerging data technologies. In the COVID-19 context, he is one of the authors of the DP-3T privacy-preserving contact tracing system being deployed in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, among others, and upon which the Google-Apple proposal is based. He has recently published a paper Analysis of the NHSX Contact Tracing App ‘Isle of Wight’ Data Protection Impact [PDF]

An Act is needed now to safeguard App users’ privacy and for social and employment protection

Professor Lilian Edwards

Lilian Edwards is a leading academic in the field of Internet law. She has taught information technology law, e-commerce law, privacy law and Internet law at undergraduate and postgraduate level since 1996 and been involved with law and artificial intelligence since 1985. In 2018, she took up a new Chair in Law, Innovation and Society at Newcastle University. She also has close links with the Oxford Internet Institute. Professor Edwards co-chairs GikII, an annual series of international workshops on the intersections between law, technology and popular culture and is Deputy Director of CREATe, the Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology, a Research Councils UK research centre about copyright and business models.


(1) Lilian Edwards and others (2020) The Coronavirus (Safeguards) Bill 2020: Proposed protections for digital interventions and in relation to immunity certificates

(2) Joint Human Rights Committee, (2020) 3rd Report – Human Rights and the Government’s Response to Covid-19: Digital Contact Tracing (HC343/HL Paper 59)

(3) Matthew Ryder QC, Edward Craven, Gayatri Sarathy and Ravi Naik, ​COVID-19 & Tech responses: Legal opinion​ (Matrix Chambers, 3 May 2020) 

For those with the time, we suggest they may be interested in:

(4) Oral evidence to the Joint Human Rights Committee from Dr Orla Lynskey (LSE), Dr Michael Veale (UCL), Elizabeth Denham (ICO) and Matthew Gould (CEO, NHSX)

(5) Supplementary Written Evidence from Dr Orla Lynskey, Department of Law, London School of Economics, and Dr Michael Veale, Faculty of Laws, University College London (COV0093)

(6) Oral evidence to the Science and Technology Committee (Commons) from Matthew Gould, Professor Lilian Edwards, Professor Christophe Fraser

(7) Contact tracing strategies for COVID-19 containment with attenuated physical distancing (2020)
Alyssa Bilinski , Farzad Mostashari and Joshua A Salomon

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