S5W-31769: Neil Findlay (Lothian)
Date lodged: 11 September 2020
To ask the Scottish Government whether an equalities impact assessment was carried out of its Test and Protect app; for what reason it is not accessible to phones with older operating systems, and what advice it is providing to people who do not have the technology to download it.
Answered by: Jeane Freeman 21 September 2020
Tried and tested person to person contact tracing is already in place and will always be the core part the Test and Protect service. The Protect Scotland app should only ever be seen as an enhancement to Test and Protect but the more people that download it the more effective it will be and those who do not use the app will still benefit from the collective protection it offers.
An interim Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) has been published on protect.scot It is recognised that not everyone would be able to or want to download the Protect Scotland app.
Although digital exclusion is not a protected characteristic, nevertheless the EQIA considered the impact of not having a compatible phone. This explains that Protect Scotland requires the Exposure Notification System which Google and Apple have created. Protect Scotland works on all phones which Google and Apple have made the Exposure Notification System available on. For Apple users, this is all iPhones since the 6S, and for Google it’s all Android phones that run Android 6.0 or higher. This applies to almost all smartphones released since 2015, and accounts for the majority of smartphones in use today.
Like all other privacy-focused ‘decentralised’ apps worldwide, Protect Scotland cannot function without the Google/Apple Exposure Notification System.
The interim EQIA will be further developed and consider feedback following the launch of the app. A final version will be published by the end of 2020, with a new Digital Health Equalities & Inclusion group established to support its ongoing development. A copy of the interim EQIA is available at www.protect.scot .