1 million downloads in 5 hours of a new contact-tracking app in Australia

1 million downloads in 5 hours of a new contact-tracking app in Australia
The current pandemic is influencing a lot of tech companies to work on contact-tracking systems, including Google and Apple. The Australian government has also developed a coronavirus tracking system and Mashable reports it has been downloaded 1 million times just for the five hours after its release.

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.

However, there were some people that were concerned whether the app offers privacy, as was also the case with Google and Apple’s collaboration system. The Australian government has therefore assured people that the app doesn’t collect location data, and users can also use a nickname, not their real name.

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.

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