Australia’s New Quarantine App: Charitable or Draconian?

by mcardinal

Megan Udinski, FISM News


Facial recognition will take on a new meaning as the Australian government rolls out an app to increase quarantine security measures. 

People all over the world have been living in fear since COVID-19 emerged in March 2020. Initially there was a general willingness to partake in measures to reduce the spread of the virus until health officials and governments could get a better understanding of the severity of the illness. However, as weeks turned into months the willingness began to wane among many, especially after the nature of the virus became more known.

Australia has taken these measures to another level with a ‘Covid Zero’ policy attempting to stop any spread of the illness from the source. Many in the country have grown tired of the measures that are in place and have organized protests in an attempt to regain personal freedoms. The Australian Prime Minister announced on August 22 that this action plan is not sustainable in the long run and that there has to be a plan for moving forward “to live with the virus, not in fear of the virus.” 

In South Australia, one of the six states in the country, the government has rolled out an app that will provide a step toward ”loosening” quarantine restrictions for citizens returning from out-of-state travel. Until now the government has required citizens to quarantine in a hotel under police watch for 14 days after they have traveled out-of-state.

With the test trial of the new app, Home Quarantine SA, the government claims it is offering a ‘safe, sustainable, and cost effective’ alternative for quarantining. The app utilizes facial recognition software and geo-location along with random check-ins to ensure that those who are supposed to be quarantining in a pre-approved location are remaining compliant. If you miss a check-in, which you have 15 minutes to answer, you will be called and asked to explain the reason for missing the check-in. If the call is missed, a compliance officer will visit your location to see if you are being cooperative and safe. Anyone who does not submit to the rules of quarantine may be fined up to $1,000. As of now the app is offered to a select group of out-of-state travelers on a voluntary basis with the intent to eventually offer it to everyone.

Many people have taken to Twitter calling this app “draconian” and  “Orwellian” with a fear that the government is imposing itself on the private lives and liberties of its citizens.