This is to ensure that the metadata retention act, which was passed in 2015 and requires all metadata to be retained for two years before deletion, does not apply to the COVIDSafe data.
A Health Department spokesperson told iTWire in response to queries that data on an individual's smartphone would be deleted every 21 days.
"The Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app captures Bluetooth handshake data between users of the app, when they are in close proximity to each other," the spokesperson said.
Additionally, the spokesperson said, the data could not be released from the phone "unless the user received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and authorised the data to be provided to state and territory health authorities to enable them to use it to supplement their manual contact tracing process".
"The use of the data, for contact tracing processes by state and territory health authorities only, is protected under law and any other use of this information is an offence," the spokesperson added.
"Other agencies, including those in law enforcement, will not be able to access the information unless investigating misuse of that information itself. These provisions will be enshrined in legislation when the Australian Parliament returns in May.
"When the pandemic ends here in Australia, users will be prompted to delete the COVIDSafe App from their phone. This will delete all app information on a person’s phone. The information in the highly secure information storage system will also be destroyed at the end of the pandemic."