What we know so far about Australia's coronavirus contact tracing app
Posted on 27.04.2020
Scott Morrison says the Australian government’s covid safe tracking app won’t be mandatory to download and install, but it could play a part in easing Covid-19 restrictions.
The Australian government has launched Covidsafe, an app that traces every person running the app who has been in contact with someone else using the app who has tested positive for coronavirus in the previous few weeks, in a bid to automate coronavirus contact tracing, and allow the easing of restrictions.
Here’s what we know about the app so far.
How does the app work?
After you download and install the app from the Australian Apple App store or Google Play store, which you can also access from the government’s Covidsafe app page covidsafe.gov.au, you’ll be asked to register your name (or pseudonym), age range, postcode and phone number.
That information will be stored encrypted on a government server, and then passed on to state and territory health authorities in the event that someone you’ve been in contact with has tested positive.
Using Bluetooth, the app records anyone you get close to (within 1.5 metres) for 15 minutes or more who also has the app. The two apps exchange anonymised IDs, which cycle every two hours and are stored encrypted on phones and deleted after 21 days.
If someone is infected with coronavirus, you then in the app consent to upload the list of anonymised IDs for the past 14 days of contact for contact tracing.
What personal data is collected?
The name you choose to provide, your age range, your phone number, and your postcode, information about your encrypted user ID, information about testing positive for coronavirus, and then the contact IDs should you consent to that being uploaded.
Bluetooth data is also uploaded to the server upon testing positive in order for the government to figure out, using signal strength, which contacts need to be notified.
“The government has already made the decision not to make any information collected by the app available for other purposes, including law enforcement investigations.”
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