The NHS is currently working to create a coronavirus contact tracing app that will not rely on API developed by Google and Apple, the BBC has reported.
The two tech firms are working on a decentralised model, which enables contact tracing matches to happen on users' devices, but the NHS is more interested in a centralised system, in which NHS servers are used to carry out matching and send alerts, when required.
The NHS had earlier said that it would use Apple-Google API in its upcoming contract tracing app, but it has since changed its mind.
"Engineers have met several core challenges for the app to meet public health needs and support detection of contact events sufficiently well, including when the app is in the background, without excessively affecting battery life," a spokeswoman for NHSX, the digital innovation unit of NHS, told the BBC.
Apple and Google are expected to launch their contact tracing API to developers on Tuesday. Their solution uses a decentralised approach to address privacy concerns and battery usage should also be lower.
The API will enable governments to create apps that are capable of detecting when two mobile phones come close to one another. When an individual is identified as being infected with coronavirus, their smartphone will send alerts - using mobile-to-mobile Bluetooth communication - to all people with whom they had come in contact with.
The UK, however, prefers a centralised solution, which it believes, will provide more insight into how the virus is spreading in various cities.
Such an approach will also allow government officials to have more control over who receives notifications. NHSX says that it will be able to analyse the data and adapt the system more quickly if information is held on a centralised system. However, other countries including Germany, Switzerland and Estonia are pursuing a decentralised approach.
Alerts will be sent anonymously in this system, so people will not know who triggered them, but the health authorities will be aware of their identities.
GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) experts have reported helped NHSX in its latest plan, although NCSC said that it has only advised on the technology.
NHSX plans to release the app, which also uses Bluetooth to detect nearby devices, "in the coming weeks" and claims that it will run "sufficiently well" on iPhones.
Google and Apple have also supported the British team, according to the BBC. NHSX's says it is currently working with two firms "on their welcome support for tracing apps around the world."
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