- COVIDCare NI – Easy Read Privacy Information
COVIDCare NI – Easy Read Privacy Information
- This helps explain how the ‘COVIDCare NI’ app works, what data is collected by the app, and who gets to see it and why.
- You don’t have to use this app. it is provided for free; available from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
- The app runs on iPhones that support iOS 12.5 and higher, and Android phones running Android 6.0 and higher.
- You have to be 11 years of age, or older to us this app. You also have to be living in Northern Ireland. You will be asked to confirm these things.
- This Data Protection Information Notice may change. You should check it each time the app is updated on your phone.
What does the app do?
Check if you or someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms and keep up to date with the latest advice on the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more >>
- Access personalised advice based on your answers to the symptom check questions.
- Decide if you need clinical advice and how to access it.
- Check local and foreign travel advice and view list of countries exempt from self-isolation.
- Easily find links to trusted information resources on COVID-19 advice and mental health resources.
- Track your self-isolation by setting an isolation timer for a positive COVID-19 test, close contact and return from travel.
- Search current advice by searching FAQs.
We continue to update the app with new features based on feedback from citizens in Northern Ireland and will continue to ensure app users get access to the most up to date headlines and changes in the advice and guidance.
Note: Please seek a doctor’s advice in addition to using this app before making any medical decisions.
If you are advised to self-isolate you can find more guidance on this:
Self-Isolation Guidance (Age 11-15)
Household Self-Isolation Guidance (Age 11-15)
Household Self-Isolation Guidance
How is my privacy protected?
COVIDCare NI does not collect any personally identifiable information. Read more >>
The app collects general information such as the number of app users, the number of people who check their symptoms in each postcode area, the number of people who are given different types of advice, and their age. This will help us to plan services and ensure that resources are directed to the areas of greatest need.
To protect your privacy we use automated processing. This means that computers, not people, make some decisions, including whether or not you are asked to self-isolate. Some people are unhappy with this. To be able to use the app you will be asked to agree to the automated processing, as the app cannot work without it.
All the app data stored on your phone is encrypted (hidden by mixing it up in a code). Data is also encrypted when it is being uploaded to our servers. The App does not store or send any data that can identify you. The App does not access GPS functionality on the phone and never tracks your location.
This will help us in calculating the rate of spread (R number), and help the health services to focus their efforts in the places where it is needed the most.
We also check how people use the map and other features in this app so we can make it better. This is not linked to your personal information in any way.
We may publish some information that shows areas where COVID-19 is spreading fastest. However, we will not publish any data that links the postcode and age of individual people, so no one can guess who is who. We need to ask for your full postcode so that our mapping is accurate enough to be useful.
None of your personal data is collected or stored when you use the App. The anonymous data that is collected and used by the App is protected by using IT security. The IT security used includes encryption (scrambling in a code), modern firewalls and intrusion prevention (barriers to stop people getting in and causing harm).
When the pandemic ends, the App will be shut down. Users will be told to delete it from their phone. All data on our servers will be deleted.
The Legal stuff
We need to have a good reason to use your personal information. It’s called the ‘lawful basis for processing’. We have looked at the law, and have taken advice from experts. Read more >>
In some cases, we will process your data on the basis that you click ‘yes’, or ‘agree’ to what will happen to your data by using the app. When you download the app and open it up for the first time, the app will explain some things to you and ask you for you to give your permission to do those things. If you check out the section ‘how is my privacy protected?’ you can read about the things the app asks you to say yes to.
We also ask you to agree to the Automated Decision Making that is carried out by the app. More information about how Automated Decision Making works in the app is covered under the, ‘How is the app making decisions’ section.
Because this app is helpful to you and helps to protect everyone in the community, (by reducing or preventing the spread of infection), the law allows us to provide this service to people aged 11 or older, as it is seen as a ‘preventative service’. Anyone aged 11 or older can easily spread infection to others, without knowing they are infected. Getting advice, based on your symptoms, that you might be infected helps you to avoid passing the infection on to others. Helping to stop infection spreading helps everyone:
- it lowers the number of people needing to go into hospital
- it lowers the number of people dying
- it can help keep schools open
- it can help avoid the need for another lockdown where everything stops again and people lose jobs or money.
This helps younger people and adults.
Because this is a preventative service (preventing the spread of infection), younger people can decide to use the app for themselves. However, we do think that younger people should talk to a parent/guardian, or a trusted adult, if you have any worries about anything in the app; if you don’t understand anything; or you would just like some help. If you are a younger person and you are given advice to get a test or self-isolate, you are going to need someone to help you, so again, we would ask you to talk to your parent/guardian, or an adult you trust. Because this is a preventative service (helping prevent infection spreading), young people can choose to use the app without the need for permission from an adult, but because of the need for help to self-isolate or get tested, it is a good idea to involve an adult you trust in doing these things.
We also have duties under the law as a public body that enable us to use your information for other parts of the app such as metric data for collecting stats, this is seen as our ‘public task’, or duties that we carry out in the ‘public interest’ (for the good of everyone). We are also allowed to process information in order to protect public health. More information about how your data is used for our public duties and tasks is covered under the ‘How is my privacy protected?’ section. If you would like to read more detailed information regarding how we process your information lawfully, with specific references to data protection law, you can read the legal section of the more detailed privacy notice for the app here.
Apps used for health reasons have to be good enough to use and be safe to use. The MHRA is the regulator (the people who help decide) if this app is good enough and safe enough to use. They have said that they think it is. They want the app to pass a standard – CE accreditation – to prove that it is in the next 6 months. If you check out the ‘How is my privacy protected?’ section, it will tell you the data we are collecting to prove that the app works.
How is the app making decisions?
The app uses automated processing to give you personalised advice based on the information you provide. Read more >>
How the Symptom Checker works
You will be asked about your symptoms and how they make you feel. You will also be asked about your lifestyle and health to check if the infection might be worse for you than for other people.
Based on your answers, the symptom checker will give you advice on what to do.
We know how important it is to protect your privacy, so you will only be asked for information about your age, gender and postcode that is needed for the app to work.
We need to ask your age and gender to make sure we give you the advice that is most right for you. Postcode is needed so we can see where COVID-19 is spreading.
The symptom checker uses automated processing to give you personalised advice based on the information you provide. This means that computers, not people, make some decisions, including whether or not you should self-isolate.
Doing this in an automated way (without involving people) keeps your identity secret, and also keeps the identity of other app users secret. If you need to discuss this process, you (or a trusted adult) can call ‘0300 200 7896’ Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) between the hours of 9am – 5pm.
By using the symptom checker you are agreeing to the automated processing. If you disagree with the advice you should call your GP or GP out-of-hours.
What happens to my data?
The Department of Health (DoH) in Northern Ireland is the Data Controller and responsible for your personal data. Read more >>
Other People Receiving Data
The data collected (described in the ‘How is my privacy protected?’ section, e.g. numbers of app users) does not identify you and can’t be linked to you – this can be described as ‘anonymised’ data. The DoH will share this data, in order for members of the public to see the number of people using the app, and to prove that the app is helping to reduce the spread of infection of COVID-19.
Where else is data going?
At the moment, no data is planned to go outside Europe. If this changes, we will let you know. All data will be used in line with Data Protection law, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
How long do you keep my data?
No personal data is collected or stored, but see ‘How is my privacy protected?’ to find out what data we use and what we use your data for.
We will only retain data for the minimum amount of time necessary. More information on how long we keep the different types of data processed when using the app is provided below.
Your IP Address:
Sometimes when using the app, your phone needs to upload data with your IP (Internet Protocol) address to our servers (the app backend). The IP address is deleted at the ‘front door’ never reaching the application layer (the bit that supports the app). IP addresses are needed to have your phone connect to the app server (backend). It is impossible for any app to connect with a server without an IP address. The IP address is removed at the ‘front door’ in order to protect your privacy, and it is not stored anywhere.
DoH / HSCB / PHA- Regional Summary Level Information
The Department of Health / Health and Social Care Board / Public Health Agency will keep regional data about the total number of app users / the total number of people with a positive test who shared their random anonymous IDs / the total number of people getting a warning to self-isolate.
This regional level data (see the section ‘How is my privacy protected?’ will be stored (for as long as it is useful) to support research and to help us plan for the future if we have another pandemic. This does not involve any data that could identify an individual.
When the pandemic is over, the app will be stood down (removed). Users will be told to delete it from their phone. Any anonymised data present, at that time, in the servers (on behalf of the DoH to support the app function) will be deleted. Nothing will be kept.
How are my rights respected? Users have rights under GDPR when their personal data are processed by data controllers. Read more >>
Right to information – a Data Protection Privacy Notice (Notice) is provided in the app. This has all the details of how your data is managed.
Right to rectification – no personal data is collected or stored by us, so we cannot do anything if you request rectification.
Right of access – no personal data is collected or stored by us, so we cannot do anything if you request access.
Right to erasure – you can choose to delete the app. No personal data is collected or stored by us, so we cannot do anything if you request erasure.
Right to restriction – you can choose to delete the app. No personal data is collected or stored by us, so we cannot do anything if you request restriction.
Right to portability – you cannot move your app data to another device and because we don’t store your data, we cannot move it either. No personal data is collected or stored by us, so we cannot do anything if you request portability.
Right to object – you can choose to delete the app.
Right not to be subject to solely automated decision-making including profiling – Computers, not people, make some decisions, including whether or not you are asked to self-isolate. The app relies on this to work properly. If you want to speak to someone about this, call 0300 200 7896 (weekdays 9am – 5pm). You can decide for yourself whether to self-isolate to stop infecting others. If you are still not satisfied you should speak to your doctor.
Who is the Data Controller (owner of the app)?
The Department of Health (DoH) in Northern Ireland is the Data Controller and responsible for your personal data. The DoH has worked with the Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency (PHA) to deliver the app.
Details for the Data Controller and Data Protection Officer are below. If you wish to complain about the app you can contact the Department using those details.
If you have a question about how your data is used you can also call the ‘0300 200 7896’ Northern Ireland’ Helpline, Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) between the hours of 9am – 5pm.
Data Controller Contact Details
Department of Health (DoH)
Contact- Chief Digital Information Officer Group
Can I leave?
You can delete the app at any time erasing all data processed on the phone. Since no personal data is collected or retained by DoH, there would be nothing that the DoH would need to do to help you leave.
How can I complain?
If you are unhappy with any of this, please contact:
Data Protection Officer
If you are still not happy, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO):
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House, Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Website: Information Commissioner’s Office
You can read the full Privacy Information Notice here
COVIDCare NI – Easy Read Terms and Conditions
You must be at least 11 years old to accept these terms and to download and use the App.
Please read this carefully. By downloading the COVIDCare NI app you agree to these terms. If you are under 16 you should discuss these terms with a parent, guardian or trusted adult before using the app. Also, you should read the Privacy Information Notice for the App and your app store’s terms.
Important information about what you can and cannot do if you agree to these terms and start using the app. Read more >>
If you agree to these terms you may:
• download and use the App onto one mobile device,
• make a copy as back-up, and
• use any future updates to the app.
We are giving you the right to use the App yourself. You should not allow others to use your app, but you can use the app to help other check their symptoms. Also, you must not use someone else’s App and please delete the app from any device that you sell or give away.
You must provide accurate information
Don’t use the app to break the law
Don’t use the app to trick, frighten or hurt others
Don’t try to break the app
Do not say or do anything offensive about your use of the app or any Service
Do not use the App or any Service in a way that could damage, disable, overburden, impair or compromise our systems or security or interfere with other users; and
Do not collect or harvest any information or data from any Service or our systems or attempt to decipher any transmissions to or from the servers running any Service.
From time to time we may automatically update the App and change the Service settings to make it work better and fix bugs. If you don’t allow these updates the app may stop working, and the security of your data or device may be at risk.
The App or any Service may contain links to websites which are not provided by us, e.g. booking a test. We are not responsible for and have not checked and approved their content or their privacy policies (if any). You will need to make your own judgement about whether to use any such independent sites.
What you need to know about our responsibilities to you as a user of the app. Read more >>
No warranty. While we take every care to ensure that the content in the app in correct and complete, we can’t guarantee this. We also can’t guarantee that the functions and use of the App will be always available and free of bugs and viruses.
Exclusion of liability. We’re not liable for damage that might happen from using the App and its content or from any technical faults.
We do not exclude or limit in any way our liability to you where it would be unlawful to do so. This includes liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or the negligence of our employees, agents or subcontractors or for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation, or in respect of any of your legal rights as a consumer (to the extent that these cannot be excluded).
Limitations to the App and the Services. The App requires you to provide accurate information. We’re not liable for the consequences of not using it properly. The app is focused on COVID-19 and related symptoms. It is not designed to help you to self-manage other conditions.
Automated processing. The generation of clinical advice on the app is an automated process, not involving a human. The automated process is carried out by use of an algorithm (this is a piece of computer software). It is necessary for the app to do this in an automated way, in order to protect your identity and the information that you put into the App. If you need to discuss this with an individual, you can call your local GP, or GP Out-of-Hours service for clinical advice. App users can express their point of view and contest the decision.
Withdrawal of or changes to the App or Services. The App and Services are intended to be made available only while the COVID-19 crisis is ongoing. We can withdraw or make changes to the App and Services at any time, without giving notice.
Please back-up content and data used with the App. We recommend that you back up any content and data used in connection with the App, to protect yourself in case of problems with the App or the Service.
Check that the App and the Services are suitable for you. The App and the Services have not been developed to meet your individual requirements. Please check that the facilities and functions of the App and the Services (as described on the App Store site and in the Documentation) meet your requirements.
We are not responsible for events outside our control. If our provision of the Services or support for the App or the Services is delayed by an event outside our control then we will contact you as soon as possible to let you know and we will take steps to minimise the effect of the delay. We will not be liable for delays caused by the event, but if there is a risk of substantial delay you may contact us to end your use of the App at any time.
What if I want to stop using the App?
You can stop using the App at any time, and you can delete from your device.
If you delete the App, you will not be able to access the Services, and all rights granted to you by these terms will cease. We will not be holding any personal data in relation to you, since we will not be collecting any; however any data held on your phone can be removed as indicated in the App instructions. Details are provided in relation to data processed by the App in the Privacy Information Notice.
This is not the contact tracing app and it is not sending or receiving any data when you are not using it.
How do I complain if I am not happy?
If you are unhappy with any aspect of this notice, or with how your personal information is being processed, please contact the Data Protection Officer at the following address:
Data Protection Officer: Charlene McQuillan
Department of Health (DoH)