1 million downloads in 5 hours of a new contact-tracking app in Australia
The app, called COVIDSafe, connects with other phones that have it installed, using Bluetooth, with a reach of 4.9 feet (1.5 metres). The app records date, time, contact distance and duration (if it’s more than 15 minutes), as well as the other user’s encrypted identification code, and all the recorded information is kept on the phone for 21 days, then automatically deleted. Health officials can use the app to notify users if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 and they have been in contact.
As at 10:30 PM 1 million Australians have now downloaded and registered for the #CovidSafeapp - please join us and help protect ourselves, our families, each other but above all else our nurses and doctors— Greg Hunt (@GregHuntMP) April 26, 2020
The Australian Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said that people can decide what they want to do with their information in the app and if they want to send it to someone, the data is encrypted, encoded, and sent in a server in Australia. This data, uploaded by users, will reportedly be kept on Australian servers and destroyed when the public health situation is over.
If the data is used for any other purpose than finding people with whom you have been in close contact, the act of breaching the data is punishable by jail, added the Australian official.