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Users of COVIDsafe tracking app are receiving hoax text messages amid coronavirus

Hundreds of tracking app users have received hoax text messages telling them they are in violation of lockdown laws. 

Hundreds who downloaded the COVIDsafe app were texted and told they were detected travelling too far from their home, which is against social distancing measures. 

‘The COVIDsafe App has detected you are now +20km from your nominated home address,’ the hoax text message read. 

The COVIDSafe app uses utilises users’ name, postcode, age range and phone number to help health officials identify people who have come into contact with anyone infected with the virus.

More than two million Australians have downloaded the coronavirus tracing app within a day of its release, far exceeding expectations. 

A fake message was sent to hundreds of users telling them they were detected travelling too far from their home 

‘Please register your reason for travel by calling 1300 1MY GOV within 15 minutes of receiving this SMS,’ the text continued. 

The Australian Federal Police said it will investigate the hoax. 

The voluntary app became available for download on Sunday evening and has the backing of doctors, nurses, businesses, bankers and travel agents.

Health Minister Greg Hunt was thrilled with the uptake.

Having initially expected the figure might hit one million within five days, it got to the mark in five hours, he said.

The COVIDSafe app uses utilises users' name, postcode, age range and phone number to help health officials identify people who have come into contact with anyone infected with the virus

The COVIDSafe app uses utilises users’ name, postcode, age range and phone number to help health officials identify people who have come into contact with anyone infected with the virus 

More than two million Australians have downloaded the coronavirus tracing app within a day of its release, far exceeding expectations

More than two million Australians have downloaded the coronavirus tracing app within a day of its release, far exceeding expectations

The figure rose to two million by Monday evening.

‘This effort will help protect ourselves, our families, our nurses and our doctors,’ he tweeted. 

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said the government would never have access to the data collected.

‘We have locked this down so completely, so thoroughly with the biosecurity rule, with legislation that is coming, the only people who can access the data are the state and territory health officials,’ he told reporters.

‘We have a compact with the Australian public: this app will only ever be used by public health officials in the purposes of contact tracing. 

And Mr Hunt confirmed people concerned about privacy could use a fake name to register.

The other personal information collected is a phone number, age range, and home postcode.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had said 40 per cent of the population needed to install the app for it to be effective.

The government has been campaigning for Australians to use the app as a prerequisite to swiftly end strict lockdown measures.

Poll

Have you downloaded the COVIDSafe app?

The app uses Bluetooth technology to track users who come in close contact with people who have tested positive to coronavirus.

Some people who tried to download the app reported there were issues getting confirmation emails, in having their phone numbers recognised, and that the app ceased sending a Bluetooth signal when the phone went into low power mode. 

Others were alarmed and confused by a message telling them that they had contracted coronavirus, despite not being tested.

‘You have tested positive for COVID-19,’ the message read.

‘Unless you consent, your contact information will not be uploaded.

‘If you consent, your contact information will be uploaded and shared with State or Territory health officials for contact tracing purposes.’

The message flashes up if the user hits the button which ways ‘Upload my Information’ on the home screen of the app.

The death toll was brought to 84 on Tuesday after an 89-year-old woman died at Newmarch House nursing home in western Sydney

The death toll was brought to 84 on Tuesday after an 89-year-old woman died at Newmarch House nursing home in western Sydney 

However that button is below text which reads ‘Has a health worker asked you to upload your information?’ and should only be pressed if the user has actually been diagnosed with coronavirus.

A spokesman for Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said the message was not a flaw, and the app was working as intended.

‘You don’t upload if you haven’t tested positive, that’s the whole point of the app,’ they told Daily Mail Australia.

‘You’re only supposed to push that button if you’ve been asked to by a health official if you’ve tested positive.’ 

AUSTRALIA’S COVIDSAFE APP – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The COVID-19 contact tracing app is called COVIDSafe.

It only works on smartphones and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google app stores.

Use of the app is voluntary.

PURPOSE

* To identify people who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 so that they can be advised to take measures to help stop the spread of the disease or get tested.

REGISTRATION

Registration will require users to input their:

* mobile phone number – so they can be contacted if needed for contact tracing.

* name – so the relevant health officials can confirm they are speaking to the right person, although the Health Minister says you can use a fake name if you want.

* age range – so health officials can prioritise cases for contact tracing.

* postcode – to make sure health officials from the right state and territory are dealing with your case.

COVIDSAFE IN USE

The app will record the following contact data:

* the encrypted user ID.

* date and time of the contact.

* the Bluetooth signal strength of other COVIDSafe users you come into contact with. This will be logged every two hours in the National COVIDSafe data store.

* No location data will be collected at any time.

* Contact data stored on a device will be deleted after 21 days.

* All data stored will be deleted once the pandemic has concluded.

PRIVACY

* Personal information collected via COVIDSafe will handled in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 and the Biosecurity Determination 2020.

* There will be criminal penalties and anyone breaches someone’s privacy.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk