People prefer coronavirus contact tracing to be carried out by a combination of apps and humans, a new study shows.
The research shows people are more concerned about who runs the process than the risks of others having unauthorized access to their private information, or their data being stolen.
Most people who took part in the research were in favor of the NHS processing personal data rather than the Government or even a decentralized system that stores only minimal personal data.
A total of 41 per cent of those questioned wanted a mixture of an app and human contact during the tracing process, compared to 22 per cent who wanted it purely to be run via contact with another person and 37 per cent who wanted the process to only be digital.
The research was conducted by Laszlo Horvath, Susan Banducci and Oliver James from the University of Exeter during May and is published in the Journal of Experimental Political Science.
They ran an experiment on 1,504 people who were given information about two apps though a series of five pairings, with their properties relating to privacy and data security displayed randomly, and asked which they would prefer to use. In a second study, the academics also surveyed 809 people about their preferences for how apps should be run and designed.
The decentralized system of contact tracing, currently trialed in the UK, was chosen by participants with a 50 per cent probability, meaning this particular design didn’t influence people’s choice. However the probability of people choosing the app designed to work as part of a NHS-led centralized system was 57 per cent, meaning it was more popular, while 43 per cent of apps chosen were described as having data which would be stored on servers