Australia launches contact tracing app


Two million people downloaded Australia's COVIDSafe app in the first four days it was available; the government's goal is to reach 10 million, or about 40% of the population. Users are asked for a (not necessarily real) name, age, mobile number, and postal code. The app exchanges a Bluetooth handshake when it comes within 1.5 metres of another app user, then logs the handshake and encrypts the exchange.

The data is used to notify users if they have come within close contact for 15 or more minutes with another user who has tested positive for the coronavirus. On diagnosis, users can allow their health care provider to view the encrypted data and use the app to collect the details of those they may have exposed. In response to privacy concerns, the government insists that only state health officials can access the data.


Writer: Inge Swain
Publication: Times Australian