Poland Using Quarantine App, Forces People To Take Selfies To Prove They’re Home

Sandy Malone

The Polish government launched an app on Friday that tracks the whereabouts of people on mandatory home quarantine.

Warsaw, POLAND – The Polish government launched an app on Friday that requires anyone who has been quarantined because of coronavirus to check in and prove they’re at home using selfies or risk expensive fines.

Poland’s Digital Ministry Spokesman Karol Manys said the “Home Quarantine” app is intended for use by people who have just returned from overseas and are undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine, AFP reported.

“People in quarantine have a choice: either receive unexpected visits from the police, or download this app,” Manys said.

The app, which is available in the iTunes app store, uses geolocation and facial recognition to keep track of whether registered users are where they’re supposed to be at home by issuing periodic prompts that ask them to take a selfie, AFP reported.

The app notifies law enforcement if the user fails to respond to its request for a selfie within 20 minutes.

Fines for those who break their mandatory quarantines will be high, AFP reported.

Police said they have already slapped a 500-zloty fine – the equivalent of $118 – on one person they caught breaking the quarantine.

Penalties for flouting the government’s mandatory quarantine rules could run as much as 5,000 zlotys, or $1165, according to AFP.

Poland has already closed its schools and its borders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

People have been asked to work from home as much as possible, AFP reported.

As of Monday, Poland had 749 confirmed coronavirus cases and eight people have died from the virus, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.

Poland is not the only country using an app to help with coronavirus tracking, CBS News reported.

The TraceTogether app developed by Singapore uses Bluetooth signals to track who people come into contact with throughout the day, ZD Net reported.

The app estimates the proximity between users and how long they were near each other.

It identifies users who are within 6.5 feet of each other for more than a half hour and logs the data for 21 days so people can keep track of interactions and possible exposures, CBS News reported.

South Korea developed an app that helps people under mandatory quarantine keep in touch with government case workers, MIT Technology Review reported.

Like the Polish app, South Korea’s software uses GPS signals to confirm that those under quarantine are actually in their homes.

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