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Freedom Day is here – delete the pub apps, they’re recording more than just your orders

Pub App Order Pay Privacy Concerns Update Wetherspoons Greene King Fullers Youngs Update

You might want to delete the pub order apps on your iPhone or Android due to privacy concerns (Image: GETTY • GOOGLE PLAY STORE)

England has now discarded almost all emergency laws designed to stop the spread of Covid-19, including social distancing rules, no limits on the number of people who can meet or attend events, table service will no longer be required in pubs and restaurants, and face coverings will not be legally required in enclosed spaces – like public transport or theatres. Some establishments will still require face coverings and other rules to encourage customers who might otherwise be put off, but these rules can not be legally enforced.

With table service no longer a requirement, it might be time to take another look at the number of pub apps downloaded to your smartphone. These applications, which allowed customers to order food and drink to their table with a smartphone, were hugely popular in recent months. The majority of the biggest pub chains across the UK have launched their own application to make ordering from your seat fuss-free.

But while the prospect of queuing shoulder-to-shoulder with other customers at the bar might not be all-that appealing, it’s worth remembering that some of the most popular apps are recording much more than your drinks order. And that might not be a trade-off you’re willing to make.

Speaking to WIRED about the worrying trend of data collection from these applications, Michael Veale, a lecturer in digital rights and regulations at University College London, said: “When hospitality started to have an obligation to take contact details last year, there was no obvious privacy-preserving tool to do this with. In many hospitality venues, they are still using the technology from the earlier part of the pandemic last year to fulfil orders and table service, which collect unnecessary information.”

Pub App Order Pay Privacy Concerns Update Wetherspoons Greene King Fullers Youngs Update

Wetherspoons launched its ordering app back in 2017 – well before the arrival of coronavirus on British shores (Image: WETHERSPOONS • GOOGLE PLAY STORE)

Wetherspoons

Wetherspoons launched its pub app before the pandemic gripped the globe. Back in 2017, the Wetherspoons app allows customers to order drinks, snacks, and food to their table. Payment is made through the app with a credit or debit card, or systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay, which use fingerprint or facial recognition to verify your identity and approve the payment.

While the order app has been around for years, its use has spiked in the pandemic. As you might expect, the Wetherspoons app collects information from any of the forms filled in within the app, including name, home address, email address and phone number.

In order to pinpoint which branch of Wetherspoons you’re in, the app taps into the GPS functionality built into your smartphone. The Android version of the app has seemingly wider-ranging permissions than the iPhone version of the same app. On Android, the Wetherspoons app has the ability to read, modify, and delete items from your USB storage. It can also snap pictures and video from your camera.

Pub App Order Pay Privacy Concerns Update Wetherspoons Greene King Fullers Youngs Update

Greene King offers a similar service to Wetherspoons with its app, but siphons a little more data (Image: GREENE KING • GOOGLE PLAY STORE)

Greene King

Like Wetherspoons, Greene King has an application designed to find and book tables at any of the 1,600 locations across the UK. As soon as you’re inside the pub, the iPhone and Android app can be used to order drinks and food to your table.

Using the app to do any of this will result in the software recording your names, contact details, booking information, loyalty card details, transaction information, date of birth, email addresses, telephone number, and payment details.

While that all makes sense, the Privacy labels in the App Store reveal that Greene King will store your search history, identifying the make and model of your smartphone, as well as how you interact with the app. That makes a little less sense.

Like the Wetherspoons app, the Google Play Store reveals more wider-ranging permissions than the iPhone version of the app. Like its Wetherspoons counterpart, Greene King can read, modify, and delete the contents stored on your USB storage, as well as take photos and videos.

Freedom Day: Dr Philip Lee calls on the government to ‘grow up’

OrderPay

The OrderPay app is used by some 1,500 pubs, bars and restaurants across the UK. The software, available on iPhone and Android, collects the usual name, email addresses, telephone number, and details of how you decided to login to the app. It also stores payment information, but not individual credit or debit card numbers. That all makes sense.

Perhaps more concerning, every time you launch the app, it will siphon GPS data, as well as allergen and dietary information, transaction history – including what you bought and how much was spent, IP address – that can be used to find your location, mobile phone service provider, model of phone, and “cookie, pixel and beacon identification information”, plus nearby Bluetooth signals.

Konrad Kollnig of Oxford University, who built the TrackerControl Slim app that analyses how Android software tracks and shares data, told WIRED that OrderPay sends some of this data to six separate data-tracking firms. That’s the highest number of any of the pub apps analysed. It also shares the location data with the OrderPay head office.

According to Kollnig, that step is completely unnecessary. He explains: “A list of all pubs could be downloaded on the Android device – as is done by the Wetherspoon app.”

In its small-print, OrderPay says that it will hold onto personal data for up to six years and could “transfer your personal information outside of the United Kingdom (UK) and European Economic Area (EEA)”.

Pub App Order Pay Privacy Concerns Update Wetherspoons Greene King Fullers Youngs Update

MyPub is used by a number of different brands, from Slug and Lettuce to WalkAbout (Image: MYPB • GOOGLE PLAY STORE)

MyPub

Finally, MyPub is the order app used by Stonegate Pub Company, which is behind all Slug & Lettuce and Walkabout locations as well as 4,500 other pubs around the UK. The privacy policy reveals that MyPub might collect names, email addresses, contact telephone numbers, passwords, as well as date of birth, gender, interests, and preferences. This is the first pub app to take note of gender.

All of this information is siphoned and used to “better understand our customers and online users, including profiling”. While that could result in promotions and events that are better suited to the people frequenting these locations… you’re handing over a lot of personal information for a pretty small benefit. When ordering at the bar, you’d be a little taken aback if the bartender had to record your gender, interests, date of birth, name, email address and mobile phone number before handing over a drink – simply so that your local can better understand its customers.

Like a number of the other pub apps in the list, Android users are hit harder with data-collection. According to the listing on the Google Play Store, MyPub can read, modify or delete the contents stored on the USB storage associated with your phone. It can also take photos and videos where necessary and track your location using GPS.

“MyPub and Greene King seem to have the best privacy properties among the apps studied,” concludes Kollnig.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Life and Style
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Nightclubs return! Revellers cheers as Freedom Day arrives – but scientists urge caution

Nightclubs return! Revellers cheers as Freedom Day arrives - but scientists urge caution

Revellers described the reopening as “like New Year” and said they “missed the buzz” of being out. Footage on social media showed nightclub queues erupt with excitement as the clock struck 12.

From today, there are no limits on how many people can meet up or attend events – and table service will no longer be required in pubs and restaurants.

You are no longer required to wear a face mask by law, though the Government “expects and recommends” using a covering in enclosed spaces.

Outside Egg nightclub in north London clubbers queued for more than an hour and counted down from 10 as midnight neared.

Fundraiser Chloe Waite, 37, who was first in the queue, said the occasion was “something we’re going to remember for a long time.”

“It’s going to be a special night,” she told the PA news agency.

“For me this is a New Year’s-type event and something we’re going to remember for a long, long time and we might not get the opportunity for a while.”

Gabriel Wildsmith, 26, a video producer from London, who joined Ms Waite added: “I’ve been here for an hour, I’m really keen.”

Actor Alex Clarke, 40, told PA: “There’s a bit of apprehension and uncertainty about the protocols.

READ MORE: Brexit warning: 26 EU states ‘lining up’ to take on UK for Ireland

“It’s thoroughly dangerous and I think no one, at least who is a specialist in public health, would be wanting to encourage an attitude by those in authority that suggests somehow the problem is solved.”

The UK is currently experiencing around 50,000 Covid infections a day, but scientists foresee this number reaching 200,000 over the next two months.

Serious illness and death is likely to be much lower than at other peaks in the pandemic due to the successful immunisation campaign, as 68 percent of the population has been vaccinated.

“If we don’t do it now we’ve got to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it?” Boris Johnson said in a video message filmed on Sunday.

“This is the right moment but we’ve got to do it cautiously. We’ve got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

SEISS warning: Self-employed fear ‘freedom day’ as support deadlines near – why?

SEISS warning: Self-employed fear 'freedom day' as support deadlines near - why?

Self-employed workers were among the hardest hit by coronavirus but despite this, new research showed many freelancers and SMEs are concerned about the economy reopening from tomorrow. From July 19, dubbed by many to be “freedom day”, the majority of lockdown restrictions will be eased and this prospect is creating unease among many workers.

Recently, Simply Business, the small business insurance provider, surveyed 936 small business owners from across the UK.

The results of this survey highlighted “mixed feelings” for freedom day among SMEs and the self-employed.

Over half (53 percent) of those polled believe social distancing restrictions are being lifted too soon and risk another lockdown.

The concern is so great, almost one in three (30 percent) small business owners will retain social distancing and reduced capacity within their businesses.

READ MORE: SEISS alert: Claimants ‘are confused’ about how grants impact returns

Alan Thomas, the UK CEO at Simply Business, commented on these results.

Mr Thomas said: “No business, big or small, has been able to escape the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sixteen months of restrictions, lockdowns, and uncertainty were always likely to take their toll.

“But the scale of the impact felt by the self-employed is abundantly clear from our latest research which shows Covid-19 will cost SMEs an estimated £126.6billion – double what owners predicted it would cost them when asked a year ago.

“Small business owners’ hopes for freedom day are at risk of turning to fears, with over half of SMEs saying restrictions are being lifted too soon.

“Given the rising number of cases, it comes as no surprise that there are strong calls for clearer guidance on how to safely manage a full reopening of businesses.

“Small business owners need clear, consistent guidelines but the onus on personal responsibility breeds confusion.

“SMEs aren’t public health experts with the ability to gauge the threat of a disease.

“SMEs account for over 99 percent of all British businesses and contribute £2trillion to our economy every year. They’ve been among the hardest hit by Covid-19 lockdowns and will prove central to our collective economic recovery.

“With one in 10 small business owners not confident in resuming trading after 19 July, it’s vital that we support small businesses through this latest – and possibly confusing – period of recovery from the pandemic.”

While it remains to be seen how businesses cope following freedom day, it should be remembered self-employed workers can continue to receive support through SEISS until the Autumn.

SEISS claims for the fifth set of grants can be made from late July onwards.

Support from SEISS will be available until September 30, 2021.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

‘No longer feels appropriate!’ Boris Johnson’s Freedom Day speech cancelled amid surge

‘No longer feels appropriate!’ Boris Johnson’s Freedom Day speech cancelled amid surge

The Daily Mail learned the Prime Minister had planned to give a speech to mark the momentous national lifting of lockdown in the style of wartime leader Winston Churchill.

However, a Government source claimed the event “no longer feels appropriate” as cases continue to soar across the country.

The source said: “The plan had been for Boris to effectively declare victory over the virus by summoning the spirit of Churchill, with appropriately stirring rhetoric.

“That no longer feels appropriate.”

Mr Johnson has previously said the long awaited Freedom Day be “cautious but irreversible”.

However, Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary, said the situation is “very serious”, and raised the prospect of another lockdown this autumn.

He said that, if cases are still rising in September, “I think we are going to have to reconsider”.

Although Covid cases continue to climb at an unprecedented rate, deaths from the virus have remained extremely low.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson to isolate for Freedom Day? After PM met Sajid Javid

“This shows no-one is safe from this deadly virus,” she said.

“By easing all restrictions with cases surging, they are experimenting with people’s lives.

“Right now, they are pursuing a strategy of survival of the fittest, where the young and clinically vulnerable will be left defenceless.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

Met Police issue urgent warning ahead of Freedom Day – ‘Virus not defeated yet’

Met Police issue urgent warning ahead of Freedom Day - 'Virus not defeated yet'

July 19, dubbed ‘Freedom Day’, sees an end to all Covid restrictions, with face masks and social distancing no longer mandatory. But as experts warn of a surge in cases and a possible return to lockdown, the Met Police has called on Londoners to behave responsibly.

In a statement, the Met Police said “the virus has not yet been defeated” and called for people to “remain cautious”.

The statement announced Met officers will remain “highly visible”, but will not be enforcing Covid restrictions.

Met officers “number one priority” will be curbing violence in the city, according to the post.

They added they are “proud of the heroic efforts of people and businesses across the capital”.

READ MORE: Covid cases soar as over 50,000 new infections recorded

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors, the Met’s strategic lead for coronavirus, added in the statement the force knows “people throughout the capital eagerly seek the same life as before the virus”.

She said: “Now that the restrictions are easing, I know people throughout the capital eagerly seek the same life as before the virus.

“While Monday’s easing is welcomed, we must all remember that the battle against the virus is not yet over.

“We should all continue to act responsibly, listening to Government guidance on how we can keep our friends and family safe by getting tested regularly and isolating if you show symptoms of the virus.”

It comes as Professor Chris Whitty warned the UK is “not out of the woods yet”.

He flagged Covid hospitalisations were doubling every three weeks and could hit “scary numbers” in future.

In an online seminar hosted by the Science Museum on Thursday evening, he said: “I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast.

“I think saying the numbers in hospital are low now, that does not mean the numbers will be low in hospital in five, six, seven, eight weeks’ time.

“They could actually be really quite serious.”

DON’T MISS…

July 16 saw 51,870 new cases and 49 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test in the UK.

In total, the UK has seen 5,332,371 cases and 128,642 deaths from the virus.

As of July 15, 3,964 patients are currently in hospital and 551 are on ventilation.

Another 61,681 first doses and 201,893 second doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered on Thursday.

In total, 46,159,145 first doses and 35,543,321 second doses have been administered, equalling 87.6 percent and 67.5 percent of the population respectively.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

Double jabbed Britons welcome in Ireland on Freedom Day

Double jabbed Britons welcome in Ireland on Freedom Day

British travellers who have had both their jabs won’t have to take a covid test to enter the country, or on departure. They also won’t have to quarantine.

However, those without a double vaccinated status will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

They will then have to self isolate for a minimum of five days – if their second PCR test is negative. This is provided by Ireland’s Health Service Executive.

Travellers who test positive on their second PCR test will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Niall Gibbons, the CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We’re pleased to confirm this change in arrangements to welcome British visitors to Ireland from 19 July.

“The Covid pandemic has been tough on everyone and these changes will afford many people an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends in a way that hasn’t been possible for a long time.

“Ireland’s tourism industry has adopted a safety charter to ensure the wellbeing of both our guests and hospitality workers.”

Gibbons then wished “all our British friends a safe and enjoyable visit to Ireland”.

Starting on July 19, children under the age of 12 will not have to take a negative PCR test before entering Ireland.

However, those aged 12-17, who haven’t been double jabbed will have to prove a negative test upon entering the country.

Yesterday, the Irish government approved legislation allowing restaurants, pubs and cafes to serve customers indoors if they can prove they have received both jabs.

Those who have recovered from Covid in the last six months can also enjoy indoor hospitality. The new rules come into effect on 26 July.

However, the bill stirred controversy amongst politicians – only winning by six votes.

According to the BBC, Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit party said: “The health status or vaccination status of somebody should not determine their rights to access basic things in our society.

“And I say that minister as somebody who is an enthusiast – and our entire party are enthusiastic supporters of vaccination – of the vaccination programme that is happening now.

“And indeed I say it in the context of urging everybody out there who is offered a vaccine to take a vaccine because the vaccination programme is our best chance of getting out of this grim situation we’re in.”

Despite the easing of rules, the Delta variant has seen covid cases in Ireland spark.

Chief Executive of the HSE Paul Reid said although 60 percent of Ireland’s adult population are now fully vaccinated, and 75 percent are partially vaccinated, concern was still present.

However, rising cases over the last two weeks were mostly people under 45.

He said: “Now the exposure we have, is the people who haven’t been vaccinated, so that’s the new vulnerable we are dealing with.

“And the concern is two-fold. Number one, as you are not vaccinated, you are at a high level of risk, and number two, what we want to protect against is the high level of spread and transmission in the community.”

The HSE is now inviting those aged 25-29 to register for their covid vaccine.

The organisation says successfully registered users should be given an appointment within three weeks.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

Kate Garraway fears ‘slippery slope’ after Freedom Day as husband’s health fight continues

Kate Garraway fears 'slippery slope' after Freedom Day as husband’s health fight continues

Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway shared her worries about the easing of lockdown restrictions in a chat with Charlotte Hawkins and guests Afua Adom and Isabel Oakeshott today. The host admitted she feared there could be a “slippery slope” as coronavirus cases continue to rise across Britain. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed the majority of restrictions will be eased on July 19.

He has called for the public to use their own judgement when it comes to wearing a mask and social distancing, but “expects and recommends” face coverings to be worn in enclosed places.

Speaking on the show today, 54-year-old Kate said not making masks compulsory could be a “slippery slope”.

She added: “If people think they’re not wearing a mask, the next thing is, the distancing isn’t the same, and then the next thing isn’t the same.

READ MORE: Ellie Harrison details ‘unpleasant’ moment with Adam Henson

“It’s a slippery slope.”

Guest Isabel agreed, but said she believes masks are “symbolic in the wrong way”.

“We do not need to keep perpetuating this state of fear and anxiety, just look at the state we’re in as of today.

“The NHS app are pinging so many people that businesses can’t function,” she continued, adding: “People are “needlessly self-isolating.

She explained on Good Morning Britain: “He’s very up and down, we’re certainly not a long way out of the woods.”

On why her spouse returned home earlier this year, she added: “Not because he was better, no.

“But being home has meant we’ve seen some things improve.

“Definitely having the family around, having the children around has provided stimulation and I think the problem is you latch on to the positives, which is good because you have to, but there’s absolutely no doubt that there’s huge challenges ahead.”

The mother-of-two added “things have improved but not much”.

In April, the presenter revealed how her children reacted to their dad returning home after more than a year in hospital.

She said: “As we pulled up, I could see two little faces of Darcey and Billy looking out the window and I could see Billy literally say ‘he’s here!’ and they sort of ran out and ran forward.

“He immediately burst into tears, there was a lot of hugging and got him inside. He absolutely knew he was home.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Celebrity News

Pound SOARS against euro – sterling value boost as Boris confirms Freedom Day

Pound SOARS against euro - sterling value boost as Boris confirms Freedom Day

Jeremy Thomson-Cook, Chief Economist at international business payments specialist Equals Money, was speaking after pound sterling finished Monday at a value of €1.17 – its highest total of the month so far. The pound was also valued at just under $ 1.39 – a cent higher than in the latter stages of last week.

Mr Cook said: “The pound has started the week off on the front foot as it hit its highest levels in July so far, making another attempt at fresh highs since April against both the euro and dollar.

“With the UK set to reopen on July 19, the pound seems to be benefiting from the resumption of economic activity.”

However, he added: “Covid numbers and an increase in the hospitalisation rate will of course be a downside risk for the pound as well as any changes in course by the government or a new assessment by the Bank of England.”

Conversely, Mr Cook said: “Moves on the euro were subdued yesterday in the absence of any real data.

“The key theme for the euro over the short term will continue to be news of the spread of the Delta variant in Europe with France, the Netherlands and parts of Spain all announcing new restrictions to curb the contagion.”

As of 10am today, the pound at was valued at £1.3861 compared to 1.3885 dollars at the previous close.

JUST IN: ‘Terrible mistake!’ 1,000 experts warn Boris over ‘herd immunity’

“This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family.

“We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday July 19 to life as it was before Covid.

“We will stick to our plan to lift legal restrictions and to lift social distancing, but we expect and recommend that people wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don’t normally meet, such as on public transport.”

Mr Johnson warned July 19 “should not be taken as an invitation by everybody simply to have a great jubilee and freedom from any kind of caution or restraint”.

He further admitted the current wave of cases would mean more hospital admissions and deaths.

However, he added: “We’ve come to a stage in the pandemic when there is no easy answer and no obvious date for unlocking.”

Nevertheless, Nikesh Sawjani, an economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, told the PoundSterlingLive website: “The further easing in restrictions will go some way to helping the UK’s economic recovery.”

The lifting of most restrictions in Europe has led to a surge in business activity – but the rise of the Delta variant, which originated in India, is proving a cause for concern.

Speaking of the recovery, Erik Nielsen, chief economist at UniCredit, yesterday told the Financial Times: “I’m a bit more nervous that it could get derailed by Delta.

“It has to get quite bad before we get another lockdown, but Google mobility data shows that it is not so much the lockdowns that drive behaviour but voluntary restraint.”