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01st June 2020

As I am sure you may be aware, the federal government launched its contract tracing app. We are getting a lot of questions which I can help answer for you. 

How do I download COVIDSafe? 

Download the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, search for COVIDSafe. Users will be asked to agree to a consent form that will allow collecting your registered details to be used for the contract to provide your full name, mobile number, postcode and age range. You will receive a confirmation SMS text message to complete the installation. The system then creates a unique encrypted reference code just for you. 

How does COVIDSafe work?

The COVIDSafe app helps find close contacts of COVID-19 cases. The app helps state and territory health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. It speeds up the current manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. This means you’ll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk. This reduces the chances of you passing on the virus to your family, friends and other people in the community.

State and territory health officials can only access app information if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded. The health officials can only use the app information to help alert those who may need to quarantine or get tested. The COVIDSafe app is the only contact trace app approved by the Australian Government. The app is voluntary and can be deleted at any time.

COVIDSafe recognises other devices with the COVIDSafe app installed and Bluetooth enabled. The app uses the Bluetooth on your smartphone to scan and detect anyone else (who is also running the app) within 1.5m. When the app recognises another user, it notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact and the other user’s reference code. The COVIDSafe app does not collect your location.

To be effective, you should have the COVIDSafe app running as you go about your daily business and come into contact with people. Users will receive daily notifications to ensure the COVIDSafe app is running.

The information is encrypted and that the encrypted identifier is stored securely on your phone. Not even you can access it. The contact information stored in people’s mobiles is deleted on a 21-day rolling cycle. This period takes into account the COVID-19 incubation period and the time it takes to get tested. 

Do I have to download COVIDSafe?

Downloading the app is completely voluntary and it is illegal to be compelled by an employer or institution to download the app. At King IT we think privacy is important, we also believe that it is one of the best ways to very easily protect yourself, your family, friends and community. No doubt about it downloading this app will save lives, and help stretch your tax dollars making an expensive manual process much more efficient. 

How private is COVIDSafe? 

The COVIDSafe app meets all 19 privacy recommendations which were compiled by the independent law firm after it wrote a 100-page assessment ahead of the app’s completion. In fact, the government will legislate a change to the Biosecurity Act that will prohibit access to the data generated by the app outside the relevant state and territory health officials who have been authorised by the user to access the database.

This means no government or Commonwealth official will have any access to the data and non-compliance of this directive will result in up to five years in jail. This legislation also bans any secondary use of the COVIDSafe data. Under normal circumstances, submissions of data can be accessed in a secondary way either to provide to law enforcement, to assist in the defence of a crime, if it is requested under warrant or if subpoenaed by the court. 

All of these secondary data uses will be prohibited by law to access the COVIDSafe app’s data. And it also cannot and will not be used for any other purpose including detecting large social gatherings that go against current social distancing laws.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he would release the source code for the app for independent review. We are waiting for the findings on this.  

How can you protect your privacy?

We suggest the following measures: 

  • Provide pseudonym or a nickname instead of your full name.  
  • You can uninstall COVIDSafe at any time when the crisis is over. This will automatically delete all information stored on your device and stop other users from collecting your contact data but if you wish any of your contact data uploaded to the data store to be deleted, you have to make a request via Health web request form
  • Do not click "upload your data" on the app if are not tested positive for COVID-19.  

How can we help?

We can download the COVIDSafe App in store for you free of charge.

COVIDSafe can increase demand on your battery because it is constantly running in the background. If you need to replace your mobile phone battery or purchase any power banks, we can help.