How does the Covid tracking app work? Everything you need to know as thousands sign up

Last night, the HSE’s Covid tracking app went live and within minutes thousands of people were downloading the service to their phones.

The purpose of the Covid contact tracing app is to identify if a person has been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive for Covid-19. This morning, more than 100,000 people had signed up for the application, which is available for free on the Apple Store as well as on Google Play.

While thousands of people have already identified the benefits of using the app, others will be a little more concerned with protecting their privacy and data. Below you will find the answers to all your questions about the Covid tracker application …

How does the Covid tracking app work?

The app uses Bluetooth and anonymous credentials to record the following:

  • any phone you are in close contact with that also has the app
  • the distance between your phone and the phone of another user of the application
  • the length of time your phone is near the phone of another user of the application

According to the HSE, “if you’ve been within two meters for more than 15 minutes with any of these phones, you’ll receive an alert saying you’re a close contact.”

How will the Covid tracker app affect my privacy?

The HSE says the app:

  • does not collect your name, age or address
  • does not hold your phone number unless you choose to share it
  • cannot be used to track your location
  • cannot be used to check if you need to self-isolate
  • can only access information on your phone that you choose to allow
  • cannot be used to identify your close contacts
  • cannot be used to identify people who test positive for coronavirus

Users will have the option to share the county or city they live in, their age group, and their gender.

Why should I use the Covid tracker app?

The HSE indicates that the application:

  • alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
  • advise you on what to do to protect yourself and others
  • alert other app users with whom you have been in close contact if your coronavirus test is positive

Do I have to download the app?

No. Whether you decide to use the app or not is up to you.

Is there anything else i should know?

All of the above is explained in more detail here.



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