Scott Morrison confirms that the tracer app used to track coronavirus will NOT be made mandatory for all Australians – but 40% will have to sign up for the technology to be effective
- Scott Morrison has confirmed the coronavirus tracing app won’t be mandatory
- The app tracks people who have come into contact with coronavirus patients
- Government said 40 per cent of Australians needed to use it for it have affect
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Scott Morrison has announced that the tracing app used to track people coming into contact with coronavirus patients will not be mandatory for all Australians.
Health officials are hoping the technology will allow them to check who has been in contact with infected people by using data from their phones.
Mr Morrison recently said at least 40 per cent of Australia would need to use the app for it to work sparking speculation it may be compulsory if not enough people used it.
But on Saturday, the Prime Minister confirmed this was not the case.
‘The app we are working on to help our health workers trace people who have been in contact with coronavirus will not be mandatory,’ he tweeted.
‘We will be seeking the cooperation and support of Australians to download the app to help our health workers, to protect our community and help get our economy going again.’
Scott Morrison has confirmed the tracing app for people coming into contact with coronavirus patients will not be mandatory (people wearing face masks and gloves outside Sydney Fish Market)
The government recently said 40 per cent of Australians would need to use the app for it to have affect
On Friday, Mr Morrison said he hoped Australians would download the app voluntarily.
‘My preference is to give Australians a go at getting it right. That’s my plan A and I really want plan A to work,’ he told Triple M on Friday.
‘I know this would be something they might not normally do at an ordinary time but this is not an ordinary time. If you download this app you’ll be helping save someone’s life.’
Mr Morrison says the app won’t be used by police as evidence to prosecute people for breaching social distancing requirements.
Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said the app would not pose any risks to people’s privacy.
‘There is no geolocation, there is no surveillance, there is no tracking,’ he said.
The app connects phones that are within 1.5 metres away and have been near each other for 15 minutes
‘The app simply connects with another app if those two phones are within 1.5 metres for 15 minutes.
‘It simply swaps phone numbers and names.’
Mr Robert said the government were trying to be as ‘transparent’ as possible and had enlisted the help of the Australian Signals Directorate and the Australian Cyber Security Centre for security measures.
The source code for the app and a privacy impact assessment will also be published by the government.
Scott Morrison said he hopes Australians will volunteer to use the app to help ‘save lives’
‘We want to be as transparent as we possibly can,’ he said.
‘When this app is released in the next week or two, we really need every Australian to download it and to run it.’
The app is being developed based on a Singaporean version, TraceTogether.
It uses Bluetooth to trace people who had spent 15 minutes or more in close proximity to a person with coronavirus.
They then share the records with authorities when asked to be part of a tracing investigation.
In Singapore, 20 per cent of people have downloaded it.
Like Tinder for the coronavirus age: How tracing app actually works
The TraceTogether app uses Bluetooth on mobile phones to link up with other phones nearby.
It is then able to track when two people are in close proximity with one another, providing times, dates and locations.
That information would become useful if one of those people was known to have contracted COVID-19.
If officials need to call upon the data, they can determine who a person’s close contacts are based on the proximity to another person and the length of time spent with them.
‘If you had close contact with a COVID-19 case, whether or not you know the person, TraceTogether helps contact tracers call you more quickly,’ the Singaporean app’s developer states.
‘Being contacted earlier allows us to better protect those around us, reducing the spread of COVID-19.
‘TraceTogether makes it faster to complete contact tracing on a national level. When more people use it, we will be safer together.’
One of the main issues in containing the virus has been the long and labour-intensive process of tracing contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19.
This system could alleviate hours of work from already over-stretched health officials, making it much easier to find people who may be at risk – and stop them spreading the virus any further.