Glitch in govt contact tracing app

Users report major problems with the Service NSW app, which is used for contact tracing and mandatory for many businesses.

Technical glitches have prevented New South Wales residents from operating a government smartphone app used for contact tracing to stop the spread of coronavirus.

People who use the Service NSW app to “check in” at hospitality venues and other public places found the service was temporarily out of use on Thursday afternoon.

Users were met with an error notice at the top of the screen reading: “Sorry, some account services, like logging in and resetting PIN, are currently unavailable. We’re working on restoring these as soon as possible.”

Some Twitter users reported they were unable to use the app to scan bar codes known as QR codes, which are used to register attendance at a venue.

A spokesperson for the state’s Department of Customer Service described the incident as “an unexpected outage” between 1pm and 3pm that prevented some users from checking in.

It is vital that customer contact details are still collected digitally. In the event of an outage, customers and businesses are encouraged to use the Service NSW check-in web form for all check-ins,” the spokesperson said.

“The web form was not impacted by the outage.”

The department said any business affected by such an outage must use other means of recording visitors, and if paper and pen are used the details must be saved electronically within 12 hours.

“Service NSW apologises for any inconvenience caused by the outage and thanks customers for their understanding during this time,” the spokesperson said.

Since New Year’s Day, the app has been made mandatory for certain businesses. Failure to make sure visitors use QR codes associated with the app can lead to fines.

It has been downloaded more than a million times, according to the Google Play store.

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