Stephen Fry tells Channel 4’s The Last Leg he’s ‘waiting for followers’ on West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock’s new app

Stephen Fry appeared on The Last Leg on Friday night. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Stephen Fry appeared on The Last Leg on Friday night. Picture: MATTHEW USHER - Credit: Archant

Stephen Fry appeared on Channel 4’s The Last Leg on Friday night, where he revealed he has already downloaded an MP’s new app.

Matt Hancock, West Suffolk MP and Culture Secretary, released his own app - named after himself last week.

On Friday, February 2 Fry took to The Last Leg sofa to chat with hosts Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker.

Earlier in the show the three hosts had mentioned Mr Hancock’s new app, which has caused recent controversy for the way it makes users share their photos with it, whether or not they have allowed it. They also played a clip of Matt Hancock introducing the app to the nation.

When Fry made his appearance, he was asked whether or not he was “on Mr Hancock”. He replied that he was, and he had already created his avatar and was “waiting for followers.”

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He did, however, admit the colour-scheme choice of “Facebook blue” was a “bad sign” for the app.

Matt Hancock later Tweeted it was “great to have a national treasure on the app”, adding a screenshot from the show.

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The launch of the app was heralded as “a comedy of errors” by digital privacy campaigners, who argued it harvests personal data from users.

National media reported the app was accessing users’ saved photographs, even if it had been denied permission to do so.

Developers of the app have since denied this was ever the case, but as Mr Hancock was widely mocked on Twitter and getting ‘West Suffolk’ trending, tech campaigners condemned the app for other privacy flaws.

To use the app - a Facebook clone aimed at keeping west Suffolk constituents in regular contact with their MP - users have to agree to let the app access personal information of its users, such as photos, friend details, check-ins and contact information.

It is also unclear how any of the personal data gathered would be used or shared.

Speaking on Thursday, February 1 Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “The Matt Hancock app is a fascinating comedy of errors. It took Twitter users less than an hour to discover basic flaws in the app.

“For those of us who analyse the Government’s surveillance and data protection laws, this is somewhat of a pattern.”

Disciple Media Limited describes themselves as a community app making company and have created the app as a donation to Mr Hancock at no expense to the taxpayer.

Disciple deny there are errors in the app, but admit they are rewriting the terms and conditions attached to the app to make them clearer for users.

Part of Mr Hancock’s role is to oversee data protection rules and the digital industries.

Mr Hancock added: “Is there a bug or a glitch or security breach? No. The app uses standard Apple technology, for example iOS photopicker technology for access to the camera. This is standard Apple technology.”

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