Since the release of the COVID Safe app on April 24 by the Australian federal government, designed to track an individual’s movements, which supposedly helps identify outbreaks of COVID-19, more than 4 million Australians have downloaded the app. Never mind that Australia is now recording only a few cases of this virus. Downloading is supposed to be purely voluntary.
Last week, our smirking Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that he will announce easing of lockdown restrictions on May 8 – provided more than 6 million people download the COVID Safe app. If this figure is not reached, the government will maintain current strict lockdown restrictions.
From being a voluntary download, Scott Morrison is blackmailing Australians to download the app or suffer the consequences. Moreover, it has been reported that problems have been identified how the app works. More importantly, the promised federal legislation that would protect an individual’s data has not yet been passed by parliament! This means the government can use your data for whatever purpose it wants! And so can Amazon, where the data is stored!
Concerned public privacy organizations and IT experts have been urging the federal government to release the source code for COVID Safe to conduct a peer review of the app’s privacy and security protocols. To date, the federal government has refused to do so. If the government has put into place unbreakable privacy protocols, why are they afraid to release the source code? Moreover, there is no sunset clause for the government to delete data gathered by the app once COVID-19 has been suppressed.
Australians have a legitimate right to be concerned about the operation of the COVID Safe app and lack of security behind the data it collects. It is regrettable to see prominent figures – public and government – downplay privacy concerns, urging people to download the app for ‘the greater good of all’ – a catch-cry of all autocratic governments! The virus spread has bottomed out in Australia, which begs the question why the government wants the COVID Safe app to keep operating at all.
Australians, keep demanding answers and don’t download this app until you get them!