Australians are being forced to download an app for the government to locate them.
Some on social media are reporting that South Australians will be forced to download an application that matches their face with their whereabouts to help track them as part of COVID-19 quarantine.
We discovered that on August 23, 2021, the Australian government unveiled a new app called Home Quarantine SA. According to Tech Times, the app uses geolocation as well as facial recognition software in order to track those who are still in quarantine. According to ABC.net, people wanting to return to South Australia (SA) and home quarantine will have to apply to SA Health. Those who are approved will have to download the new app which will help track those in quarantine. The app will contact people at random times to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes. If they do not respond, then police will be called to check on them. According to the South Australia Premier Steven Marshall: "We just use it to verify that people are where they said they were going to be during the home-based quarantine."
The new app is already being used. Marshall said: “The very first person using the home-based quarantine app is now in place. This is part of a pilot of around 50 people.” According to the South Australian government: “Home Quarantine SA is voluntary at this time. It provides a safe, sustainable and cost effective alternative to medi-hotel quarantine.”
Even though Australia's COVID-19 measures have kept their numbers extremely low, some are questioning their efforts and the app from a civil liberties’ perspective. As described in the The Atlantic: “In a bid to keep the coronavirus out of the country, Australia’s federal and state governments imposed draconian restrictions on its citizens.” The Atlantic article describes the app “as Orwellian as any in the free world to enforce its quarantine rules.” The author of the article even goes as far as suggesting that Australia may soon be considered a “police state.”
At this time, only people who have applied to the South Australian government for home quarantine are being asked to download the app. It appears from the government website that downloading the app for others in SA is voluntary at this time.