Coronavirus – Department of Health confirm Ireland’s Covid-19 tracker app ‘ready to deploy’ but awaits govt approval – The Irish Sun

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THE CovidIreland tracker app is “ready to deploy” across the country, the Department of Health has confirmed.

The application has passed through the Google and the Apple review process and is now in the hands of the government, who will consider the matter at their upcoming meeting.

  The Department of Health has confirmed that the CovidIreland tracking app is 'ready to deploy'

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The Department of Health has confirmed that the CovidIreland tracking app is ‘ready to deploy’Credit: PA:Press Association
  A woman holds a smartphone showing the Covid-19 tracing app used in Denmark

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A woman holds a smartphone showing the Covid-19 tracing app used in DenmarkCredit: AFP

This comes as confirmed cases of Covid-19 over recent days have been reported to have more than 20 close contacts each – in April the average close contacts a person had was around two to three.

‘READY TO DEPLOY’

In a statement to the  Irish Sun, the Department of Health confirmed that the app is “ready to deploy” in the Republic Ireland.

A spokesperson said: “The App is ready to deploy All pre-launch testing has been completed and the commitments to openness and transparency have been honoured through the publication of the DPIA, source code and other materials.

“Preparations to embed the app within national testing and contact tracing operations are also complete.

“It is now a matter for the Government to approve. The Government will consider the matter at a forthcoming Government meeting.”

TRACKER APP

The HSE has said the tracker app which would trace people who have come into contact with people who have become infected with Covid.

It will operate through a decentralised tracking system and track who users come into close contact with via Bluetooth.

The software will operate on a voluntary and opt-in basis and will help track down those in close contact with positive cases of the disease.

The app would improve contact tracing as it becomes increasingly more difficult with the easing of restrictions.

The app was developed by Waterford-based tech firm Nearform in late March, and testing for the app began at the beginning of June.

APP EFFECTIVENESS

Last week, the HSE released the source code for the application with its privacy statement and Data Protection Impact Assessment(DPIA).

The DPIA has stated that the CovidIreland app will be discontinued when the Covid-19 crisis is seen to end in the Republic.

The report stated that the app will also be discontinued within 90 days if the HSE assess the app to be “ineffective”.

There are “multiple factors” that will measure the app’s effectiveness, these include the number of contacts identified within the app compared to the manual contact tracing system, prevalence of the killer bug and levels of uptake song the public.

SURVEILLANCE CONCERNS

Meanwhile, members of the public have expressed concern that tech companies or the government could use Covid-19 tracing apps as a form of “greater surveillance”.

The survey found that 82 cent of adults are willing to download such an app and 31 per cent would “probably” install it.

According to Dr Mike O’Callaghan, general practitioner and researcher at the UL School of Medicine, the app would only work if people were willing to download it, and leave their bluetooth on at all times.

O’Callaghan, worked with researchers from Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, University of Limerick, and National University of Ireland Galway to survey the public about the app and their willingness to use it.

He told RTE Radio One: “Most common reasons here were that they were worried that technology companies and indeed perhaps the government might use this app for  greater surveillance after the pandemic.”

He added: “It is a bluetooth based app which means your phone will remember any other phones with the app that come into its vicinity.

“That’s very different from a geolocation or a tracking app which logs essentially where you go.”

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