The Australian government has finally released it's contract tracing app for iPhones and Android phones, called COVIDsafe. After all the usual knee-jerk privacy paranoia it turns out that the App doesn't track your location or store data on some government database, it simply records when you get within blue-tooth range of another smart phone that has the App installed, and the data stays on your phone until you choose to give it to the health department's contact tracers (IF you catch Covid-19 and have a positive test result). If you never get Covid-19 before the pandemic ends you won't ever be asked to share the data, and it can be deleted at any time you choose (eg. when the pandemic is over).
The installation was quick and easy. The only trouble I had was that I had to use google to find the government health department page to get the link to the app in Google Play - searching for 'CovidSafe' within the App store failed to bring it up!). I did initially think that the registration/PIN wasn't working when I didn't get sent the PIN via SMS -- but it turned out that I'd just entered my phone number incorrectly. Hopefully enough Australians install COVIDsafe you the country to be able to quickly contract trace any future instances of community transmission. That way we'll be able to ease restrictions and minimise social and economic disruption. It might turn out that we are the 'lucky country' yet again.
ps. If Australia and NZ manage to get on top of Covid-19 and open up trans-tasman travel, we might go skiing in NZ for our next overseas vacation. It will probably be the only place Aussies can go overseas for quite a while...
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