Almost half of Australians are likely to download a virus transmission tracing app – Ipsos survey

Privacy cited as main concern among those unlikely to download the app

Almost half of Australians with a smartphone (45%) are likely to download a contact tracing app to aid the tracking of virus transmission, an Ipsos survey reveals.

Almost one third (32%) were unlikely to download a tracing app citing privacy as their main concern.

The Ipsos survey, conducted from 24 to 27 April online among 1,845 people who have a smartphone, asked Australians their likelihood of downloading a Government mobile phone app that helped trace people’s contact with others to aid the tracking of virus transmission.

The main reason people would not download such an app was privacy concerns at 79%, followed by concerns around the accuracy of such apps (26%), how much data the app might use (22%), concerns around battery power usage (15%) not having enough space on their phone (13%).

The vast majority of Australians (95%) said they had either an Android or Apple smart phone that allowed them to download an app.

The same research was conducted in New Zealand, where almost two thirds of Kiwis with a smartphone (62%) said they were likely to download such an app.

Privacy was also cited as the main concern among those (20%) who were unlikely to download the app at 62%. It was followed by accuracy concerns of such apps (28%), I won’t need it if I keep myself safe (24%), not enough phone storage (19%) and data the app would use (19%).

In New Zealand, 950 Kiwis were surveyed online over the same period of 24 -27 April.

Ipsos Australia Director, David Elliott, said: Our figures suggest that the Government is going to need to work hard if it is to meet its desire for close to half the population downloading and using the COVID Safe app. When you take the figure of 45% of smartphone owners back to the total population you get 42%, so there is some work to do if we are going to get to 50%.

“Privacy is the key concern, which is not overly surprising. There has been a lot of discussion in the media about this and we know from previous research there are trust issues around personal data. In November 2018, as part of the World Economic Forum we conducted a global study looking at citizens’ understanding and perceptions of data privacy.  One of the key figures to emerge from that study was that only 41% of Australians surveyed indicated they trusted the Australian Government to use people’s personal data in the right way. So clearly there is work to do to convince Australians that their data will be safe if they use this app.

“Given there is only a small increase needed to get to 50% of the population it might make sense, if possible, and perhaps be easier, to reassure Australians about the accuracy and effectiveness of the app, how much of their download data it will use and to allay concerns around battery power usage,” he said.