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The HSE's Covid-19 tracing app went live this evening - here's what it looks like

The information stored on the app will not be transferred to a centralised server.

Updated Jul 6th 2020, 11:59 PM

Image from iOS (1)

HEALTH MINISTER STEPHEN Donnelly has confirmed the government will launch a Covid-19 contact tracing app tomorrow. 

Ahead of that launch event tomorrow morning, the app became available to download on iOS and Android devices this evening. It can be found by searching COVID Tracker Ireland on the app stores. 

Speaking this evening, Donnolly said that the app “could be [and] hopefully will be a really power part of the toolkit in fighting this disease”.

“It allows every single person to play an extra part. It will allow us to get on with contact tracing in a matter of hours, it will allow people who have the app to completely control their own data, there will be no centralisation of data,” Donnolly said. 

Image from iOS (3)

“The people themselves can choose if they want to anonymously share with close contacts that they have tested positive,” he said.

“It’s a very, very powerful tool. We’ll be getting into more of the detail tomorrow and we’ll be really encouraging as many people as possible to download and use it.”

Ahead of the Covid Tracker App’s launch, the HSE last month released documents detailing how the app will work.

The app will be voluntary, but a Lero study published last month by Science Foundation Ireland found that 82% of the population said that they would be willing to install an app for contact tracing.

Image from iOS (2)

It will record if a user is in close contact with another user by exchanging anonymous codes that are held on the users’ phones.

People who test positive for the coronavirus will be able to choose if they want to anonymously alert other app users who they have been in close contact with.

The app will also allow the user to anonymously record information about how they feel every day.

The information stored on the app will not be transferred to a centralised server.

Image from iOS

In a previous statement, the HSE said: 

“The symptom tracker has the potential to generate valuable national data relevant to Covid-19. The accurate reporting of the timing of the first onset of symptoms will improve the speed and the accuracy of the tracing process.

“In line with data protection law, the processing of data will be limited to this stated purpose. All personal data that is processed is kept to an absolute minimum.

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“Users can choose to delete the app at any time and have full control over what information they share through the app.”

The app has been developed by the HSE and the Department of Health, in collaboration with the Government Chief Information Officer and An Garda Síochána, together with technical partners from the Irish private sector (Expleo, Nearform, Information Security Assurance Services Ltd (ISAS), and EdgeScan) and scientific partners from Science Foundation Ireland. 

With reporting by Órla Ryan, Sean Murray

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