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What is COVIDSafe and is it actually keeping us safe?

I don’t know about you but the words “government tracing app” don’t have very positive connotations for me. We have been reassured, however, that COVIDSafe is totally trustworthy and all Aussies should download it.

The app is designed to track everyone you come into contact with to minimise the spread of coronavirus. But how does an app do that?

COVID
Source: AAP

COVIDSafe works through Bluetooth, logging everyone you’ve come within 1.5 metres of for over 15 minutes if the app is left open.

First off, we should note that the app is totally safe. It isn’t mandatory to download and all data is safely encrypted. Your location is not tracked and you can even use a fake name if you’re not 100% reassured.

If both you and another person has the app installed, your phones will carry out a “Bluetooth handshake”. This will allow your respective devices to swap details in which UserIDs are shared instead of actual details. Crazy, huh!

Here’s the selling point – if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, that user’s data will be accessed with permission and everyone they have come into contact with who has downloaded the app will be notified.

If that person consents to it, a unique PIN will be generated to ensure the safety of their data before it is released to notify others.

To use the app, you only need to provide your name (or a fake one), age group, mobile number and postcode.

PM Scott Morrison has said that 40% of the country would need to use the app for it to properly work, backed up by Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert asking everyone to download the app.

“It is a big Team Australia moment… we really need every Australian to download it and to run it,” he said.

Of course, the app has its privacy concerns. We’ll let you decide what you want to do with it.

You can download COVIDSafe on the App Store or Google Play now.