Under the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, (for regulating the processing of personal data in the UK from 25 May 2018, replacing the former Data Protection Act 1998); Article 22 affords the following protection:
“The data subject shall have the right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling, which produces legal effects concerning him or her or similarly significantly affects him or her.”
This may not apply if you have given explicit consent and if there is access to a human to speak to in order to express your point of view and to contest the decision.
In accordance with this, we have put the following measures in place, to ensure that your rights are not infringed. During the on-boarding process, in activating the App, we asked you to consent to the automated processing of your information that would be involved in you receiving an ‘Exposure Notification’ and being advised to self-isolate. The processes involved in detecting significant contact episodes between App users, and using these to determine risk of infection should one or other test positive for COVID-19, are clearly explained in the ‘Terms & Conditions’ and ‘Privacy Notice’. The DoH’s prime concern in designing how the StopCOVID NI App operates was to preserve anonymity, and ensure that ‘Exposure Notifications’ could be facilitated, without the collection or transmission of any personally identifiable data. Automated decision-making within the App is essential, in order to avoid needing to share your identity, or the identity of other App users.
The App ‘Exposure Notification’ process mirrors the manual contact tracing process, in terms of estimating the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as being related to a ‘high risk’ contact; within 2 metres in terms of distance, and for 15 minutes, or longer, in terms of duration. If you receive an ‘Exposure Notification’, it means that at some time in the previous 14 days, you had a ‘high risk’ contact with someone who has now tested positive for COVID-19. That means you are at high risk of having been infected with COVID-19 and there is a high risk of you passing the infection to others (even if you have no symptoms). Recent information published by the Office for National Statistics indicates that 79% of those who test positive for COVID-19 have no symptoms at the time of testing. In order to slow the spread of the virus, we need to use the manual contact tracing process and the App (working in parallel) to let those who have had ‘high risk’ contact, with someone who has tested positive, know that they are at risk of having been infected, and should self-isolate to avoid passing it on to others.
The App achieves this in an anonymised manner to protect your identity, and the identity of other App users. If you receive an ‘Exposure Notification’ via the App, we will have no way of knowing with whom, where or when the ‘high risk’ contact took place. If you wish to speak to someone in relation to an ‘Exposure Notification’ that you have received via the App, you can do this by calling ‘0300 200 7896’ and selecting the option to speak to someone about the notification at the following times: Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) between the hours of 8.30am – 5.30 pm. Someone will answer your call and explain the ‘Exposure Notification’. They will have no way of knowing with whom, where or when the ‘high risk’ contact took place, but they will try to explain the process to you and its purpose, to allow you to understand it, and make an informed decision as to whether to self-isolate to prevent you from spreading the infection to others.