Article, News

COVID-19: The Internet of Things and Cybersecurity

L I M

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Issue 8, 02 June 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. This is the eighth edition of COVID-19: IoT and Cybersecurity.

Download the short briefing (02 June 2020, PDF, 579KB)

Overview

• The NHSX COVID-19 app has not yet been released in the UK outside of the Isle of Wight
• The Joint Committee for Human Rights reiterates calls for extra legislation to protect data collected by the NHS Test and Trace service
• Research and trials into antibody certificates have begun and are continuing alongside work on immunity
• More contact tracing apps have been launched around the world this week
• Concerns about ‘mission creep’ are strong as the language of contact tracing has appeared in surveillance statements in the US as well as proposals to make a health tracking app in China permanent
• Researchers have set out 16 questions to assess whether a contact-tracing app is ethically justifiable

Issue 7, 26 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. This is the seventh edition of COVID-19: IoT and Cybersecurity and builds on the rapid advances in the issues surrounding contact tracing applications, digital antibody certificates and smart devices in the UK and around the world.

Download the short briefing (26 May 2020, PDF, 458KB)

Overview

• Ireland is developing a decentralised contact tracing app. This may create interoperability issues at the border with Northern Ireland.
• In response, Northern Ireland have announced they will also develop their own decentralised app.
• The UK government has rejected calls to introduce new legislation to enshrine privacy protections around digital contact tracing.
• Academic research has progressed in creating privacy-preserving antibody certificates.
• The technology industry has also started approaching governments and businesses to provide digital certification solutions.
• The exposure notification service by Google and Apple has recently become available on Android and Apple phones.
• More ‘smart wearables’ are coming into the market to help people return to work.
• The Ada Lovelace Institute has released a report on data gathering in the workplace.
• Smart sensors are being trialled to measure temperature and monitor
breathing to detect symptoms of COVID-19.

Issue 6, 19 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. This is the sixth edition of COVID-19: IoT and Cybersecurity and builds on the rapid advances in the issues surrounding contact tracing applications in the UK and around the world.

Download the short briefing (19 May 2020, PDF, 468KB)

Overview

• New estimates place the roll-out of a combined manual and digital contact tracing in the UK to late May
• The NHSX is still open to make changes to the app as informed by the trial on the Isle of Wight
• The Joint Committee on Human Rights has asked for permission to move a private member’s bill on data protection and contact tracing
• There are worries that the NHSX app’s reliance on unverified self-diagnoses could be open to abuse and that the possibility of false negatives will be a barrier to uptake
• Guidelines and technical specifications for interoperability between decentralised systems in Europe have recently been published, designed to be secure, scalable and straightforward to implement
• The interoperability between decentralised and centralised systems, however, has not yet been resolved
• Vibrating bracelets have been deployed by companies eager to maintain social distancing in work environments

Issue 5, 12 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. This is the fifth edition of COVID-19: IoT and Cybersecurity and builds on the rapid advances in the issues surrounding contact tracing applications in the UK and around the world.

Download the short briefing (12 May 2020, PDF, 398KB)

Overview

• Early insights from the Isle of Wight trial of the NHSX contact tracing app show there are usability issues on older phones.
• A parallel app, constructed using a decentralised approach, is reportedly being developed. The NHSX has not ruled out changing systems.
• The NHSX has published the front end source code and the Data Protection Impact Assessment for the Isle of Wight trial.
• An independent NHS COVID-19 App Data Ethics Advisory Board has been formed.
• While the UK Government have stated that they believe no further legislation is required in the roll out of a contact tracing app, data law experts are adamant that safeguards are needed.
• Draft legislation has been prepared.
• The Australian contact tracing app ‘COVIDSafe’, which takes a similar centralised approach to the NHSX app has encountered usability problems. It is thought that some of these have a workaround in the NHSX version.
• IoT sensor solutions are an increasingly popular option for industries looking to bring employees back to work. However there are concerns that increased monitoring may be done with little regard to human rights or well-being.

Issue 4, 05 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. This is the fourth edition of COVID-19: IoT and Cybersecurity and builds on the rapid advances in the issues surrounding contact tracing applications in the UK and around the world.

Download the short briefing (05 May 2020, PDF, 416KB)

Overview

• Trials of the NHSX contact tracing app are taking place this week on the Isle of Wight
• The NHSX has not yet released the Data Protection Impact Statement
• Debates are continuing about centralised and decentralised approaches
• A split European approach will risk cross-border infection if different apps cannot talk to each other
• India has had a strong early uptake of their contact tracing system. However 550 million people in India use ‘feature’ phones which are not Bluetooth enabled.
• In Australia, although half the population are supportive of the government’s app, only 16% have downloaded it. Many are waiting for temporary legislation to be made permanent.

Issue 3, 28 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. This is the third edition of COVID-19: IoT and Cybersecurity and builds on the rapid advances in the issues surrounding digital contact tracing applications and smart devices in the UK and beyond.

Download the short briefing (28 April 2020, PDF, 487KB)

Overview

• The UK Government has announced their approach to contact tracing will involve an app in conjunction with manual contact tracing.
• The privacy community is calling for the NHSX to release the source code before the app is released.
• In addition, the limitations of a digital solution must be acknowledged.
• Legal protections are still being updated, with the Coronavirus (Safeguards) Bill 2020 receiving positive attention globally.
• The debate on centralised and decentralised apps is ongoing, with most of Europe moving towards decentralised versions.
• The WHO urges caution towards immunity passports, as the evidence for immunity is not settled. However, some countries are going ahead with these plans.
• Smart devices are also being supported by government and private industry to maintain quarantine, check and report symptoms and guarantee social distancing.

Issue 2, 21 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. This is the second edition of COVID-19: IoT and Cybersecurity and builds on the rapid advances in the issues surrounding contact tracing applications in the UK. The level of uptake of contact tracing apps is crucial to their success. The uptake will be improved if people feel confident their data will not be misused, repurposed or shared without their consent. UK and European governments are looking for solutions to ease lockdown restrictions. A number of advances in the last week involving the tech industry and experts are producing promising privacy-preserving platforms for this to occur.

Download the short briefing (21 April 2020, PDF, 433KB)

Overview

• A joint initiative by Google and Apple has changed the landscape for contact tracing apps by announcing measures to support decentralised Bluetooth LE approaches.
• However some contact apps being developed are incompatible with the imposed restrictions.
• Some apps, possibly including the proposed NHS app, will need to modify their approach, or continue with a solution that may cause lower uptake.
• A Pan-European approach towards contact tracing has come under scrutiny from experts, with multiple partners pulling their support.
• As it stands, a decentralised approach called DP-3T is widely seen as a privacy-preserving solution, and is similar to the Google and Apple approach.
• The rollout of contact tracing apps needs to have appropriate legal provisions to ensure public trust.

Issue 1, 9 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. A key to tackling the spread is the identification and quarantine of infected individuals. This process requires accurate, and almost real-time information about the locations and people an infected person has interacted with. Using mobile phone locations for contact tracing is therefore proving a popular strategy for many governments to tackle the outbreak. However, if privacy concerns cause users to avoid these measures then they will not be effective.

Download the short briefing (9 April 2020, PDF, 603KB)

Overview

• A growing number of countries are testing mobile phone contact tracing applications to combat the spread of COVID-19.
• This technology utilises mobile phones by tracing individuals’ location data or interactions via Bluetooth.
• There are concerns regarding the privacy and security of user data when using these apps.
• Privacy concerns may stop the uptake of contact tracing apps in the UK
• Solutions are being developed to maintain user privacy from outsiders, contacts and authorities.
• Smart wearables are being developed to aid contact tracing and it is important for these to be developed with privacy at the core of their design.

 

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