‘A new way to help fight COVID’ is now available as NHS Scotland launches its contact tracing app.
Bluetooth technology used by the new Protect Scotland app will anonymously alert users if they have been in contact with another app user who has tested positive for the virus.
If a user tests positive themselves, the app can help anonymously determine and notify people they may have been in close contact with.
The new proximity tracing app offers Scots a ‘new way to fight COVID’, tweeted First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as it went live this morning.
As users come into contact with other people who have downloaded the app, their phones will automatically exchange encrypted codes that record how long someone has been in contact for and how far apart they were.
Responding to privacy concerns, the Scottish government has been at pains to emphasis the app does not record users’ identity or location and is based on ‘tried and tested’ technology developed by Google and Apple.
Intended to support and not replace usual contact tracing methods, the Scottish government has said the app will offer an additional level of protection as the country continues in its efforts to suppress the virus.
Cases have been increasing in recent days, with every mainland health board in Scotland reporting new cases on Tuesday.
The Scottish government had been considering using a similar app the UK government had promised would be ready by May but decided to develop its own amid concerns over data-sharing, technical difficulties and delays to the UK government’s efforts.