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Privacy watchdog backs WeHealth app

Reassurance: Alexander White, the Privacy Commissioner for Bermuda (Photograph supplied)

The WeHealth Bermuda app designed to help coronavirus tracing will not undermine civil liberties, the Privacy Commissioner has promised.

Alexander White said: “Bermudians can feel confident in WeHealth Bermuda as an example of trust being earned.

“My office engaged with Government early in this process, and the technologists and civil servants with whom I worked were quick to realise the privacy risks that could come into being with these sorts of apps.

“We reviewed these issues and risks together, and throughout the app design process they addressed all of my recommendations.”

The WeHealth app, launched last Friday, can notify people of potential exposure to the coronavirus.

It targets people from their phones according to their level of risk and can be used to cut down on blanket quarantines.

It also helps contract tracers when a positive test for the coronavirus is recorded.

Mr White told the public: “From early days, this app aimed to earn your trust through privacy protections. Government took what I would call a privacy-by-design approach, which means intentionally planning out for and selecting the most privacy-friendly of the many, varied possible options.

“WeHealth Bermuda avoids the riskier - from a privacy perspective - approaches that other countries have tried.”

He added that the app was designed to prevent misuse of information by not collecting it unless needed – and then keeping all the information on the phone itself.

Mr White said that attempts to collect more information would be blocked by limits set by Google and Apple on what contact tracing apps could do “precisely to assure people worried about creeping permissions”.

For more information visit the Privacy Commissioner’s blog post at https://www.privacy.bm/post/priv-comm-r-wehealth-was-well-crafted-to-support-privacy-public-health-i-downloaded-it-myself

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Published December 16, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 15, 2020 at 1:52 pm)

Privacy watchdog backs WeHealth app

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