The Tory Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock – the man responsible for overseeing data protection laws in the UK – has just become the first MP to launch their own app. And, in a fitting tribute to the Tories’ incredible incompetence when it comes to all things internet-related, the app almost certainly contravenes the very laws that Hancock is responsible for.
Hancock, who is also the Minister responsible for pushing through a new bill designed to strengthen UK data protection laws, launched his new app today to a chorus of disbelief and ridicule. And now, a Data protection & privacy expert on Twitter has revealed, astonishingly, that Hancock’s app breaks both Apple policy and UK Law.
NEWS: Today I’ve launched the Matt Hancock app to connect with my West Suffolk constituents. Follow the link to download it & see what’s going on in the Matt app https://t.co/UBH3DtQQhR pic.twitter.com/6FOLjdtPqb
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) February 1, 2018
Even more incredibly is the fact that Hancock has previously said that less than half of businesses are aware of new data protection laws – and it seems that Hancock fits into this category himself pretty snugly.
It is deeply unnerving that the Secretary of State responsible for data protection laws does not appear to understand them.
The app collects details from users including photos, videos, check-ins contact details and “other digital content.” This “data slurp” occurs as soon as you begin using the app.
Hancock’s issues stem from several privacy problems with his new app. The first to be noticed was that it does not appear to recognise denial of permissions. Twitter users immediately noticed that the app could access their photos regardless of whether they gave it permission to. This is a major privacy flaw that the developers initially claimed was a bug but are now touting as a feature.
Big Brother Watch called the App “woeful.”, adding that “It is quite fitting, given this Government’s incompetence on digital privacy issues, that our Digital Minister’s app steals a bank of users’ personal photographs, even when permission to access them is denied.”
Fair and lawful processing requires the user’s information to be used in a way they expect and for them to be given “suitable information” about how their data will be used.
Overall it appears that the Matt Hancock MP app has failed to ensure the privacy of its users. As Privacy Matters put it succinctly:
We would expect the Secretary of State responsible for data protection would get privacy right.
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