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Covid-19 alert app: Here's why SA government isn't using the app to 'spy' on you

The COVID-19 app is a notification system and there's no way for it to be used for clandestine purposes, experts explain.

A screengrab of the COVID-19 Alert App from the Play Store.

JOHANNESBURG - The coronavirus (COVID-19) app is not a contact tracing app. It's a notification system and there's no way for it to be used for clandestine purposes, experts explain.

Tech journalist Jan Vermeulen and data privacy researcher Murray Hunter explained that the app does not collect any personal data.

“The app is based on the exact same technology that's being rolled out elsewhere in the world.”

On Thursday during his address, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged citizens to download South Africa's COVID-19 alert app.

However, several people of social media raised concerns about data protection and the possible misuse of the app.

Vermeulen argued that users are not required to register their personal information to use the app.

“It detects whether you have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive.”

He added that the app is not a contact-tracing system.

“This isn't a contact tracing system, it's completely anonymized. There's no way to trace back who tested positive.”

The app is a COVID-19 exposure notification system that uses Bluetooth technology instead of GPS tracking.

Using Bluetooth technology, the app will alert any user if they have been in close contact with any other user who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

The app is completely anonymous and there's no way for users to trace back who tested positive for the virus.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)

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