The new “NZ COVID Tracer” is a mobile App which registers users’ contact information and allows them to scan QR codes at the entrances of business, public or other organizational buildings they visit.
The App is reported to have gone through independent security testing and the Ministry of Health said it has consulted the Privacy Commissioner to ensure that users’ private data are protected.
According to the country’s Health Ministry, Public health units (PHUs) and the National Close Contact Service (NCCS) will continue to lead contact tracing in New Zealand, getting further support from the App’s data when necessary.
“This is what I would describe as a digital diary,” said Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand.
“Helping users when they’re out about to keep log of their own movements, for instance, between cafes and restaurants. That’s obviously something those businesses are doing themselves, but this is a way that people can do it that keeps the data for themselves.
In case in the future you find yourself with COVID-19, you’ve got an easy reference to tell where you’ve been over a period of time. This is a tool that aids contact tracing. It is intended to aid and support physical contact tracing efforts, not to replace them by any means.”
NZ COVID Tracer supports Android OS 7.0 or later and iOS 12 or later on Apple devices. The Health Ministry look to provide support for older mobile devices and operating systems in future updates. Notwithstanding, Kiwis with incompatible devices are encouraged to register their current contact information through the country’s COVID-19 tracing web platform and keep a manual record of the people they’ve seen and the places visited in case it is needed for contact tracing.
NZ COVID Tracer has been developed for the Ministry of Health by New Zealand telco Rush Digital. As part of a 2017 government-wide cloud service agreement, the App data will be stored on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure.
AWS is also the cloud service provider for Australia’s coronavirus contact-tracing mobile App COVIDSafe which the government launched in April.