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Scotland launches anonymous ‘Protect Scotland’ contact tracing app

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Protect ScotlandSource: NHS Scotland

What you need to know

  • Scotland has released its 'Protect Scotland' contact tracing app.
  • It's built on Apple and Google's exposure notification system.
  • It can alert you if you've been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but can't see any of your data or location.

NHS Scotland has today released its Protect Scotland contact tracing app to the public.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the app's release this morning in a Tweet stating:

There's a new way to help fight COVID in Scotland. 'Protect Scotland' – our confidential contact tracing app – will anonymously notify app users you've been in close contact with, should you test positive. Please download, and let's all protect Scotland

The app is built on Apple and Google's exposure notification API and uses Bluetooth handshakes to determine if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If one of the people you've been in contact with registers a positive test, you'll get an alert.

FAQ: What is the Google-Apple COVID-19 (coronavirus) Exposure Notifications system?

From the protect.scot website:

Using Bluetooth, the app will exchange anonymous, encrypted, random codes with other mobile phones with the Protect Scotland app installed. You do not need to have a WiFi connection and the app uses a very small amount of your mobile phone data, but you do need to keep Bluetooth switched on.

The app is available on Android (6.0 and later) and iOS (13.5) or later. The app does not collect any personal information from users such as name, age, address, or phone number. It cannot track your location nor be used to check if you are self-isolating. The system uses random device identifiers to register contacts between devices, and that information is stored locally on your phone, rather than a server. It cannot see any of your contact information in your phone, nor can it reveal the identity of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

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You can read a full explanation of how the app works, and how it protects your data on the protect.scot. website.

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