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West Suffolk MP, Matt Hancock, left redfaced after new app is reported to have major privacy flaw

PUBLISHED: 12:08 01 February 2018

Matt Hancock (Conservative MP for West Suffolk). Picture: House of Commons

Matt Hancock (Conservative MP for West Suffolk). Picture: House of Commons

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West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has today announced the launch of his very own app and social network - but it is already being critcised for having a major error and possibly breaking data protection laws.

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has today announced the launch of his very own app and social network - but it is already being critcised for having a major error that possibly breaks data protection laws.

The secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport may have hoped that his pioneering ‘digital democracy’ would hit the headlines for being a first for UK politics, however, The Mirror was quick to report the app was accessing users saved photographs, even if it had been denied permission to do so.

The Tory minister’s app was envisioned as a state-of-the-art way of keeping MPs in touch with their constituents, but according to The Mirror, the iOS version of the app, which allows users to post pictures to their feed, was giving itself access to users phones and photo library.

The app prompts the phone to ask the user if they want to allow access to their photo library, but even if users click the option to deny access, the app ignores the command, The Mirror reports.

The flaw would put the app in breach of Apple’s privacy guidelines for the iOS App Store and could break the Data Protection act, which it is Mr Hancock’s job to oversee.

Mr Hancock was appointed to the role of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary in Theresa May’s reshuffle earlier this month.

Part of his role is to oversee data protection rules and the digital industries.

The MPs office did not respond to the Mirror before publication, and his office are yet to respond to the East Anglian Daily Times’s request for comment.

However, speaking ahead of the app launch, the Mr Hancock said: “Harnessing the amazing advancements in tech to improve the lives of everyone is vital. Next-generation community platforms like Disciple are a brilliant example of how we can use tech to foster healthy online engagement. So, I’m delighted to have the chance to use this to build a safe, open and accessible online community for my West Suffolk constituents and I to engage with the issues that matter to them.”

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