Scotland launches anonymous 'Protect Scotland' contact tracing app

Protect Scotland
Protect Scotland (Image credit: NHS Scotland)

What you need to know

  • Scotland has released its 'Protect Scotland' contact tracing app.
  • It's built on Apple and Google's exposure notification system.
  • It can alert you if you've been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but can't see any of your data or location.

NHS Scotland has today released its Protect Scotland contact tracing app to the public.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the app's release this morning in a Tweet stating:

There's a new way to help fight COVID in Scotland. 'Protect Scotland' - our confidential contact tracing app - will anonymously notify app users you've been in close contact with, should you test positive. Please download, and let's all protect Scotland

The app is built on Apple and Google's exposure notification API and uses Bluetooth handshakes to determine if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If one of the people you've been in contact with registers a positive test, you'll get an alert.

FAQ: What is the Google-Apple COVID-19 (coronavirus) Exposure Notifications system?

From the website:

Using Bluetooth, the app will exchange anonymous, encrypted, random codes with other mobile phones with the Protect Scotland app installed. You do not need to have a WiFi connection and the app uses a very small amount of your mobile phone data, but you do need to keep Bluetooth switched on.

The app is available on Android (6.0 and later) and iOS (13.5) or later. The app does not collect any personal information from users such as name, age, address, or phone number. It cannot track your location nor be used to check if you are self-isolating. The system uses random device identifiers to register contacts between devices, and that information is stored locally on your phone, rather than a server. It cannot see any of your contact information in your phone, nor can it reveal the identity of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

You can read a full explanation of how the app works, and how it protects your data on the website.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9