NSW to trial facial recognition, geolocation app for home quarantine

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NSW to trial facial recognition, geolocation app for home quarantine

Adopts same technology as South Australia.

The NSW government will adopt a smartphone app that uses the same facial recognition and geolocation technology as South Australia for its home-based isolation pilot next month.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday revealed the planned trial that will involve 175 fully-vaccinated people, including a combination of NSW residents, non-Australian residents and Qantas air crew.

The pilot, which will be operated and monitored by NSW Health and NSW Police, will run over a four-week period in preparation for the opening of international borders as early as November.

Under the home quarantine pilot, the isolation period will be reduced from 14 to seven days, with the findings expected to inform future quarantine programs.

The NSW app will be “based on that already in use in South Australia”, ending speculation the state would trial another app.

SA's app, dubbed Home Quarantine SA, has been piloted since late last month, and uses geolocation and face recognition technology to confirm a person’s location during home quarantine.

It gives users 15 minutes to respond to location verification requests at random intervals throughout the day.

Much like Home Quarantine SA, the NSW app will also “provide people with a testing schedule and symptom checker”.

The government has also stressed that “privacy will protected through the same mechanisms as the current Service NSW check-in regulations”.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the program will allow the state to bring home more Australians from overseas.

“Home quarantine has been an important line of defence throughout this pandemic but as we move towards our vaccination targets, we have to look at new ways of doing things,” she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison added that the pilot was the “next step in our plan to safely reopen, and to stay safely open”.

Reports emerged on Thursday that NSW and Victoria were trialling a similar app from Perth-based software company GenVis, which is used in Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

GenVis’ website shows that the “G2G suite is being utilised by the WA Police Force, the NT government, Department of Health Victoria and the Tasmanian government”.

iTnews has contacted Victoria’s Department of Health for further information.

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