The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has called the "contact-tracing" app a "vital tool" in protecting Australians against coronavirus. He urged all Australians to install the app, saying the sooner they did so, the sooner we would be able to go to the pub! As a form of coercion, some possible restrictions may be lifted, but only if more people download and install the app.
There has been a lot of scepticism and concern over the new app, that it is a breach of privacy, or tracking your location when you are being told to "stay at home", but that capability is not yet operational as are other functions, such as how the government will use the data collected. My concern, however, is that it is a complete waste of taxpayers' money and will NOT work! It will not do what it is supposed to, and will not protect you to keep you safe from COVID-19 either.
Firstly, what do we know about the new COVID-19 app:
1) You need to have an Android or Apple smartphone, or the app won't work
2) The COVID app must be launched and running all the time, or the app won't work
3) You must have Bluetooth turned on and mobile data turned on, or the app won't work
4) Bluetooth uses a wireless frequency to "talk" to other devices such as mobile phones of those around you within about a 10m distance. But only if their phone's Bluetooth setting is turned on too, or the app won't work
5) The app really needs to be installed and running on in EVERYONE's phone around you, you won't get notified if they later test positive, or the app won't work
6) Only if someone is in your Bluetooth zone for a period of 15 minutes will the app record their details for future reference or to warn you of a possible coronavirus exposure
7) If someone were to just quickly walk past you in your Bluetooth range, but coughed or sneezed on you as they went past, that will NOT record their phone or details! So the app won't work
8) The mobile phone data collected by the app will only be sent to the government servers on a manual basis - you need to initiate that (allegedly), or it won't work
9) The mobile phone data allegedly does not collect location details
10) If someone were to test positive to COVID-19 at a later time, they are supposed to update their app with that information, and the app will then identify the phones of people they were in contact with (again, only those who were around you for 15 mins and who had Bluetooth turned on and the app installed and running!), to let them know to get tested too. If someone got tested and didn't update their app, then obviously the app isn't going to help inform or protect you from the virus
11) It is very common for software to initially come out with basic features, and more added in later which you might not know about... so who knows what will happen later...
12) Everything depends on the accuracy of the COVID-19 pathology test too. Recent studies have shown that the PCR test used will report between 20-80% false positive (ie not true) confirmations of the virus. The test also reports false negatives (ie, you have the virus but it says you don't!), which is a much worse situation. If the test doesn't work, the app won't either.
13) The app will not protect you from exposure from someone who visits a supermarket 2 hours before you, and handles some food or touches the same EFTPOS sales terminal as you, and who later tests positive.
In short, the app is next to useless! It won't keep you safe from COVID-19. It will not protect you, your family or anyone around you from the coronavirus. The messages from the PM and government are patronising and misleading, and the dependence on the app to end the restrictions needs to stop.
This is yet another example of government incompetence...
Have you installed the app or had any issues with it? Or are you even going to install it?