The Government has released its "digital diary" contact tracing app. Screenshot: NZ COVID Tracer

The Government has released its “digital diary” contact tracing app, Marc Daalder reports

New Zealand has finally released an app for contact tracing.

The app, called NZ COVID Tracer, was found on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store late on Tuesday evening.

It appears to allow users to scan QR codes to log the places they have visited. Newsroom reported on Monday that the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment has devised a system to grant unique QR codes to every business in the country, based on their New Zealand Business Numbers (NZBN).

An email address is required to use the app but no other information – including a name, phone number, date of birth, residential address and demographic information – is needed, although providing the first two details is “recommended”. 

The app’s privacy policy states that location information – recorded through QR code scans – will be stored only on the user’s device and deleted 31 days after first being collected. Other information will be stored by the Ministry of Health for “the duration of the New Zealand government’s Covid-19 pandemic response, then it will be deleted”.

Use of the app is voluntary and the Privacy Commissioner has been consulted on it, according to the privacy policy.

The app will eventually have a daily health check-in feature, which has already been quietly rolled out on the Government’s official WhatsApp channel.

Marc Daalder is a senior political reporter based in Wellington who covers climate change, health, energy and violent extremism. Twitter/Bluesky: @marcdaalder

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