The Government has praised the initial uptake of the COVIDSafe app.(ABC News: Keane Bourke)ShareFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsAppPrint contentPrint with images and other mediaPrint text onlyPrintCancelCOVIDSafe was sold as Australia's ticket out of lockdown. But almost three months since launch in late April, its impact is hard to measure.Victoria has accessed data from the app almost 400 times, but health authorities are yet to point to any potential COVID-19 exposure that was not picked up by manual contact tracing.In New South Wales, app data has been extracted 23 times. In one instance, a person whose contact details were unavailable during manual contact tracing was contacted using app data.But COVIDSafe's ability to reliably transmit and collect encrypted codes using Bluetooth from other apps remains under scrutiny.And there is another option.For the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic follow our live coverage.In May, Google and Apple launched an exposure notification API or framework built into their devices' operating systems that allows health authorities to build their own apps, and ostensibly helps the technology perform better with less bugs and workarounds.Germany and Ireland, as well as a handful of other European countries, have now launched their own COVID-19 exposure notification apps using the Google-Apple framework.So how do they compare to COVIDSafe? Health Minister Stephen Donnelly launches the official Irish COVID Tracker contact tracing app at the Department of Health in Dublin.(Getty Images: Niall Carson/PA Images)A centralised or a decentralised modelCOVIDSafe and apps built using the Apple-Google API both deploy Bluetooth to create an encrypted log of random codes from other devices with the app, that come into close range.But Ireland's COVID Tracker app and Germany's Corona-Warn-App differ when it comes to the next step.Broadly, if someone tests positive for the virus and has one of those apps, they can voluntarily make their weeks of random codes available to the exposure notification system.Each individual app regularly checks the exposure codes they have stored against ones the system has identified as belonging to an infected person.If there is a match, they receive a warning notification on their phone and can then choose to get in touch with a doctor.All the data processing is done on the device.Read more about coronavirus:Want to know which masks work best? Check out this experimentWith all our lives changing due to corornavirus, you could be experiencing disenfranchised griefIn contrast, if someone with COVIDSafe is diagnosed with the virus, health authorities may ask them to share their app's data with a central database. Then those random codes will be sorted into close contacts (1.5 metres for upwards of 15 minutes) and used by local health authorities to track potential exposures.Ireland and Germany's apps operate more as a warning system and offer much less information to authorities.That lack of centralised data collection is part of what makes security expert Vanessa Teague, chief executive of Thinking Cybersecurity, believe Australia should move to the Google-Apple API."It has this huge privacy advantage," she said.And although we do not yet have sufficient empirical data comparing the performance of available models, she suggested it's likely apps built using the Google-Apple framework will work more reliably than COVIDSafe because the Bluetooth detection technique is built into the devices' operating systems."By work, I mean, when two people are near each other, the likelihood that it exchanges the pings it's supposed to exchange is likely to be a lot higher," she said.Have you seen a coronavirus claim that doesn't seem right?If something dodgy pops up in your feed or inbox, upload screenshots, photos, videos or links, and tell us how it got to you.Read moreAre apps built using the Google-Apple API a success?Like in Australia, German and Irish authorities have been quick to boast about download figures.Germany launched its app in mid-June. As of July 23, the Corona-Warn-App has registered 16.2 million downloads, according to the Robert Koch Institute, in a country with a population of more than 80 million.Ireland's Health Services told the ABC that almost 1.4 million people have downloaded the app since July 7,
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