COVIDSafe app decommissioned as health department urges Australians to delete it

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App once dubbed the most important in Australia and our ticket out of lockdown meets sad end as millions are urged to delete it

  • The Health Department has decommissioned the COVIDSafe contact app
  • Information released last year found it was only used to find 17 close contacts
  • It cost taxpayers $9million last September with ongoing $100,000 monthly cost 
  • The decommissioned comes almost a year after COVIDSafe was last updated 

The coronavirus app once dubbed our ticket out of lockdown has met a sad end, as the federal government announces it is wiping the controversial multi-million-dollar COVIDSafe tracking program after just two years. 

COVIDSafe users were notified on Tuesday night that the app was being decommissioned and were instructed to delete it from their phones.

‘COVIDSafe is being decommissioned. The app is no longer being used in contact tracing,’ the notification read.

The federal government has decommissioned its multi-million-dollar coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe after just over two years of use

Users of the COVIDSafe app received a notification on Tuesday night telling them to delete it from their devices

‘This update removes functionality of the app so no information is stored or collected. This will enable the decommission process of COVIDSafe.’

The closure of the controversial app, brought in by Scott Morrison’s government in an attempt to trace Covid cases after the pandemic hit in early 2020, was signed off by Health Minister Mark Butler at the end of July.

The order Mr Butler signed declared the app was ‘no longer required to prevent or control; the entry, emergence, establishment or spread’ of Covid. 

COVIDSafe was launched by the Morrison Government in April 2020 as a response to the early phases of the Covid pandemic

COVIDSafe was launched by the Morrison Government in April 2020 as a response to the early phases of the Covid pandemic

In September last year it was revealed the tracing app had cost taxpayers $9million but only helped in finding 17 close contacts throughout the pandemic that health authorities weren’t already aware of.

The data collected by the app was not used once in South Australia to identify contacts throughout the pandemic.

Then-Government Services Shadow Minister Bill Shorten said the ongoing cost of the app was too expensive, running at about $100,000 a month, for giving such little result.

‘Based on the evidence at hand, that’s cost the taxpayer $537,325 for each of the 17 unique cases it has detected,’ he said. 

Health Minister Mark Butler signed off on the COVIDSafe app's decommissioning in July, noting the app was 'no longer required to prevent or control; the entry, emergence, establishment or spread' of Covid

Health Minister Mark Butler signed off on the COVIDSafe app’s decommissioning in July, noting the app was ‘no longer required to prevent or control; the entry, emergence, establishment or spread’ of Covid

The COVIDSafe app faced heavy criticism when it was first launched, with people arguing an app designed to track the population’s location was a breach of privacy.

There were also concerns the information collected could be accessed or sold to a third party.

However, as restrictions eased and stores removed their QR check-in codes the app was largely unused and forgotten about by most of the population. 

The decommission comes almost a year after the app’s last update.

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