Two million Australians have downloaded a COVID-19 contact tracing app hours after the government released it, reported Reuters.
The COVIDSafe app for smartphone devices uses Bluetooth technology to create a "digital handshake" when other users comes within 4.9ft. The app logs the contact and encrypts it, will inform users if they have crossed paths with someone who tests positive for the virus.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said about 2 million Australians had downloaded COVIDSafe app as of Monday, or about 7% of the country.
The Chief Medical Officer says he's proud of the almost 2 million Australians who have downloaded the COVIDSafe app in the last 24 hours. https://t.co/5hqlUGvfeh @Riley7News #auspol #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/oooHiCdjwD— 7NEWS Australia (@7NewsAustralia) April 27, 2020
"This effort will help protect ourselves, our families, our nurses and our doctors," Hunt Tweeted.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison's popularity has been surging since his handling of the pandemic has led to low deaths and cases, mostly because of his swift action to close borders and enforce strict social distancing policies.
Morrison said about 40% of the country's 25.7 million population should download the tracing app to support the government's pandemic response.
Morrison's poll numbers have jumped 27 points since the start of March to 68%, a recent poll showed.
However, there are some significant concerns about the app's stored data, even though it is encrypted. Government officials said "not even a court order" would allow authorities to access it.
The #covidsafe app is now available in Australia 😷— Matthew Robbins (@matthewrdev) April 26, 2020
However, it's a shame that they have decided not to release the source code for full transparency.
Luckily, I'm a curious chap and also a professional mobile developer.
We've noted, a post-corona world would likely consist of contact tracing apps, immunity passports, mandatory testing, and vaccines. These are tools that
Big Brother government will utilize to reopen crashed economies.
For the US, respondents in a recent survey told the Kaiser Family Foundation that they would share virus test results with the government, but many were not willing to download a tracing app because of privacy fears.