HSE Covid-19 App

9th July 2020

This week the HSE launched their Covid-19 app.

The app seems to suggest that contact will be made by the HSE by voice phone call, however that will only be for the purpose of contact tracing if you come into contact with someone who has symptoms.

But it is also clear that some notifications will appear in text on the app. The phone calls are optional. They do not insist that you add your phone number.

We have asked the HSE what their process is if they need to make contact with an app user and how will they know if the users preference is for text contact instead of voice call. This is part of our overall contact with HSE about how they do testing and contact tracing.

The voice call issue is important and we are asking for more information from the HSE, but it does not stop Deaf people using the app.

Some of you have privacy concerns but the Government is keeping to EU GDPR rules, your data will be better protected on this app than many other social media services, like Facebook and Twitter, that you are using already.

The app is based on using the Bluetooth function on your phone. That is a way that phones can communicate with each other. It is how the app can let you know if you have been close to someone who has reported symptoms. It means that you must have Bluetooth turned on in your phone. Also the app will not work on older phone operating systems, you must have Apple iOS13/Android 6.0 or later. Although this is not ideal, it is the same for all people, hearing or Deaf who use the app.

Irish Deaf Society