Why do I keep getting COVIDSafe messages and notifications on my phone when I've already downloaded the COVIDSafe app?
If you've registered and installed the COVIDSafe app on your phones you have probably asked yourself this very question. Notifications or text messages from COVIDSafe have been flying thick and fast it seems.
Messages include requests to switch on Bluetooth or "Stop the spread of COVID-19 by keeping your Bluetooth on and the app open in power saver mode when you are in a meeting, public spaces or public transport".
Queensland open-source software engineer Geoff Huntley explained that the federal government is using the notification window as a way of letting Australians know that the application is working successfully.
"They are using the notifications as an indication that the application is running and if it was to disappear you should restart the app - that's what it's about but it is confusing people," Mr Huntley said.
"It's really just a notification to let you know that the application is running in the background."
A spokesperson for the Department of Health confirmed that the notifications are provided to remind the user to run the app.
"We are investigating amending the frequency of these alert messages in future updates of the app in addition to other app enhancements," the spokesperson said.
In addition to letting users know that the app is running successfully, the notifications, Mr Huntley said, serve another purpose.
"Bluetooth does need to be on for the application to work, so if they're turning off Bluetooth that notification will change to 'please turn on Bluetooth'."
And what about the text messages being sent directly to individual mobile phones?
"It's just an SMS, it's got nothing to do with the app.
"They've got no way of knowing if the app is installed or not - they are essentially sending an SMS to every mobile phone number in Australia that you should download the app.
"It's like spam in your junk box - it's an SMS advertisement that the government is sending to everyone."