IEA expert comments on launch of test and trace system
From a civil liberties perspective we are "not out of the woods," says Victoria Hewson
In response to the launch of a Coronavirus tracing programme in England today, Thursday 28th May, IEA Head of Regulatory Affairs Victoria Hewson says:
“Using traditional manual contact tracing alongside technology solutions on mobile devices is sensible, especially as the elaborate, bluetooth based systems are still not proven to be effective.
“But from a civil liberties perspective we are not out of the woods – huge amounts of personal data will be collected by health authorities and we should still be concerned as to how this will be secured and not used for wider purposes.
“It is encouraging that the government intends to rely on people following isolation advice following a contact out of ‘civic duty’, but Matt Hancock’s threat of enforcing quarantine by law is troubling, given the unsatisfactory laws and guidance that the government has been responsible for in implementing the lockdown.
“It could also disincentivise people from getting tested in the first place, if they think they will have their compliance with isolation advice monitored by the police, which would be very counterproductive.”
Notes to editors
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The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.
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