Millions of Brits 'unwittingly tracked' by phone after Covid jab to see if movements changed
MILLIONS of Brits have been unwittingly tracked by their mobile phones after getting the Covid jab, it's reported.
Health chiefs wanted the data to see if vaccinated people are moving about more after they have their inoculations.
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And Government scientists admitted in an official report that one in ten jabbed Brits were tracked via their phones in February without their knowledge, the Telegraph reports.
It comes as:
- Boris Johnson’s ex-senior aide Dominic Cummings blames incompetent leadership for ‘lockdown confusion’
- England hits 50million Covid vaccine milestone as 2,694 more daily cases and six deaths recorded
- Germany BANS Brits from midnight over Covid variant fears – while Spain lifts tourist restrictions
- Surge testing to stop the spread of Indian variant has been deployed in West London
- Weddings of more than 30 guests WILL be allowed from June 21, the PM is set to announce
The figures were then handed to researchers at Oxford University, who carried out studies for the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B).
The committee advises Sage.
Academics at Oxford used 'cell phone mobility data for 10 per cent of the British population' to track what a number of jabbed people were doing.
The group were tracked by their location every day as scientists monitored what they were up to and where they were going.
And they discovered vaccinated people were likely to move around more afterwards – although only by 218 metres.
Campaigners battling state surveillance say Brits will be “disturbed to discover they were unwittingly tracked and subjected to behavioural analysis via their phones”.
Silkie Carlo, a spokesman for Big Brother Watch, told the publication: "No one expects that by going to get a vaccine they will be tracked and monitored by their own Government.
“This is deeply chilling and could be extremely damaging to public trust in medical confidentiality.
"Between looming Covid passports and vaccine phone surveillance, this Government is turning Britain into a Big Brother state under the cover of Covid. This should be a wake up call to us all."
A Government spokesman said: "All the data sets used in this research are set out in the paper, which makes clear that the mobile phone location data used is GDPR-compliant and has been provided from a company that collected, cleaned, and anonymised the data.
"The data is at cell tower rather than individual level. The researchers were granted access to the dataset under a research contract with ethical approval provided to the researchers from the University of Oxford, working on behalf of SPI-B"."
The project was approved by an ethics committee at Oxford University.
Elsewhere, it was last night revealed that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines give high levels of protection against the new Indian mutation after two doses.
Some 22million Brits have had both jabs – and a study reveals both are effective against symptoms such as a continuous cough, a loss or change to sense of smell and taste or a high temperature.
Pfizer was 88 per cent effective while AstraZeneca proved 60 per cent effective.
Both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with about 50% against the Kent strain.
The vaccines are also likely to be much more effective when it comes to stopping hospitalisations and deaths.
And it's a positive sign for the UK with hopes we are on track for the day of freedom on June 21 when all restrictions are expected to be dropped.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the “groundbreaking” development and added: “We can now be confident that over 20 million people have significant protection against this variant.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE Head of Immunisation, said: “It’s vital to get both doses to gain maximum protection against all variants.”
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