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Coronavirus tracking app may be compulsory if not enough people opt in

The contact tracking app being developed by the Federal Government may become compulsory if there are not enough Australians using it to help combat the coronavirus.

Speaking on Triple M today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it needed at least 40 per cent of the population to download and register to use the app for it to be effective.

Mr Morrison said using the app could potentially save lives.

“My preference is to give Australians a go at getting it right,” he told Triple M.

“That’s my Plan A and I really want Plan A to work.”

But Mr Morrison went as far as suggesting the app may become compulsory.

“I know this would be something they might not normally do at an ordinary time but this is not an ordinary time,” he said.

“If you download this app you’ll be helping to save someone’s life.”

The app – based on the TraceTogether app developed and used in Singapore – uses your phone’s Bluetooth connection to put all the phones you come within range of into a database to make it easier to track the people you came into contact with should you contract coronavirus.

But the hesitation from many Australians about installing and using the app is all around privacy.

The Singapore TraceTogether app requires users to share their number, enable push notifications and keep the app running  in the background at all times.

Each person’s number is paired with a random ID code and this is what is shared with other device’s not the person’s number.

Meanwhile Apple and Google are working together to develop similar technology which will be used in health apps before eventually becoming a part of iPhone and Android smartphone operating systems.

Apple and Google say a person’s privacy is protected by generating a random identifier for each device in the database that changes every 15 minutes for added security.

Contract tracking will not use GPS to track your location.