If you’re paying for a vital service such as a COVID-19 test when travelling abroad, it’s reasonable to expect it to be backed by an approved app from one of the major app stores. However not if that test is from health lab Randox.
No, to install its mandatory Certifly app on an Android device, you need to enable side-loading of apps from unknown sources, then follow a link or a QR code.
Randox told us the delay lies with Google: “Google Play has indicated that adjusted work schedules are causing longer than usual review times for app submissions. Randox can confirm the CertiFly app has been submitted to Google and is awaiting review.”
Maybe users should stick to plain old dead-tree printouts in the meantime. Your reporter and his family travelled in and out of the British Isles via London Gatwick last month. Despite a dozen pages of documentation per person, we were disappointed to note no COVID-related checks (or even checkpoints) there whatsoever, unlike at the start and end of the trip… but we don’t recommend betting your trip on that.
Privacy and security concerns are an issue about tools whose purpose is to track or identify people – especially when it’s a matter of life or death. Unfortunately, the British government has a poor record at this, although it promised to tighten up its act. At least the app didn’t cost £14m, wasn’t legally questionable, and didn’t record who had it or not.
His salary won’t have dented Randox’s finances too hard in so far the government has awarded it, according to Labour leader Keir Starmer, “government contracts worth over £600m, without competition or tender”.
Readers may have also noticed questions have been raised following an investigation into Randox’s methods and procedures, and not for the first time. In January 2017 Randox reported it had discovered an alleged manipulation of quality data within its laboratory processes in Manchester, causing forensic results on over 8,000 police cases to be retested. In August 2020, it had to recall 750,000 test kits sent to care homes and elsewhere, because swabs were “not up to standard.” ®