People who are at risk of family violence from family members who are attempting to stalk or control are expressing concerns about downloading the COVIDSAFE app that the government released on the 26th April 2020.
What is the purpose of the app?
The purpose of the app is to make proximity tracing easier. Due to the contagous nature of the COVID-19 Virus for Australia to lift the restrictions on business and travel the government wants a way to quickly identify and trace people who have been in contact with someone who is identified with the virus.
How does it work?
The app needs to be downloaded onto your smart phone.
Once it is downloaded you need to keep your bluetooth working on the phone.
If you come close (less than 1.5 metres) to someone who has the app for 15 minutes or more the apps will communicate with each other and share your names, phone numbers and when the exchange happened. The other information that users put into the app is their postcode and email address.
Who can access the information?
So what should you do?
That is up to you as it depends on your circumstances.
- if you are not in a situation where someone is likely to be trying to access information about who you meet with then there is a very low risk of the information being stolen from your phone.
- If you are confident that there is no spyware on your phone and / or no one else will have the opportunity to access it to instal software or download data then you have a low risk.
- If you are living with someone or in a separated relationship with someone who may be prone to stalking you and you would be at risk if they know who you are meeting with consider getting help for the family violence. Them accessing your app may be the least of your problems but in the interim it may be a consideration regarding whether to get the app or not.