Background Contact tracing applications were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate the spread of the infection in several countries. In Saudi Arabia, the Tawakkalna application was developed. The Tawakkalna application is a mobile health solution aimed to track infection cases, save lives, and reduce the burden on health facilities. This study aims to explore the public's attitude to and acceptance levels of the Tawakkalna application and to evaluate its effectiveness regarding privacy and security. The main objective of this study is to investigate the user acceptability of contact tracing applications and explore the safety and privacy effectiveness of the COVID-19 contact tracing application, the Tawakkalna application. In addition, the study analyzes factors associated with acceptance levels and compares the results obtained to similar studies in other countries using similar applications. Methodology This study used a valid and reliable online survey that was used in similar studies conducted in other countries to assess the acceptability of the application. The survey was conducted from September to November 2021, and the final dataset included 205 participants. To investigate the privacy and security performance of the Tawakkalna application, we followed the investigation method used by similar research that investigated 28 contact tracing applications across Europe. Results Out of the 205 participants, 84.87% were in favor of the opt-in voluntary installation of the Tawakkalna application, and 49.75% of the participants were in favor of the opt-out automatic installation. Individuals' trust in the government had a huge impact on acceptance, with 60.98% of the participants supporting the application because they believed that the Tawakkalna application would help them stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, 49% of the participants supporting the application also agreed to the de-identification of their collected data and providing it for research. The Tawakkalna application ranked at the top compared to other contact tracing applications regarding privacy and security. Conclusions The Tawakkalna application developed by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority was a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is considered the biggest public health crisis in recent times. The Saudi Arabian government gained the population's acceptance through effective endorsement and the spread of educational content through media channels. By complying with privacy policies, the Tawakkalna application is an effective tool to combat public health infectious diseases.
Dawood Safia, AlKadi Khulud
acceptability, contact tracing, covid-19, mhealth, permission, privacy, privilege, security, tawakkalna