An Australian state is testing out a new app that uses facial recognition technology to ensure residents are complying with COVID-19 home quarantine orders.
The app, listed as Home Quarantine SA in app stores and unveiled by the South Australian government Aug. 23, uses geo-location and facial recognition software to track those quarantining themselves, South Australia Premier Steven Marshall told ABC News in an August interview. All South Australians ordered to quarantine must download the app.
The app ensures citizens comply with quarantine orders by contacting people at random and asking them to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes. Citizens then share their location with the government or provide “live face check-ins” to confirm they are at their “registered quarantine address,” according to the app’s description.
“We don’t tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes,” Marshall told ABC News.
Under South Australia’s current COVID-19 guidelines, health officials and law enforcement officers can direct citizens to quarantine in their homes or in “quarantine hotels” for 14 days. People who break quarantine face up to a $1,000 fine, according to the guidelines.
Individuals who miss their geolocation check-ins will receive a follow-up phone call where they will have to discuss why they missed the notification, and if they miss that, a “compliance officer” may visit their home, according to the app’s FAQs.
“We just use it [the app] to verify that people are where they said they were going to be during the home-based quarantine,” Marshall told ABC.
The app’s pilot program began Aug. 23 and contains 50 people, though Marshall told ABC he plans on state-wide adoption.
“I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app,” Marshall said.
A similar app, known as G2G Now and developed by Australian technology firm GenVis, is used by the West Australian government to monitor quarantine. Use of the app is voluntary except for individuals “traveling from a high risk jurisdiction,” according to the app’s FAQs.
“Performing quarantine checks is now quick, fun and easy thanks to G2G Now,” the app’s description reads.
The South Australia Ministry of Health did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s after-hours request for comment.
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Ailan Evans on September 2, 2021
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