By TONY KALLEGEROS
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recently introduced a new app that will be able to identify if individuals have spent more than 15 minutes within 1.5 metres of each other. The app was created for the purpose of tracking the spread of Covid-19 and intended to be downloaded by people who have been in contact with the coronavirus.
When downloading the app, an individual’s name, age range and postcode is stored and a unique identify is assigned. Although encrypted, a user’s data will be accessed by health authorities.
However, experts believe that intelligence agencies and services may grant themselves access to the information on a user’s phone by modifying the app’s code. Alice Drury, Senior Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said “The primary concern is that police or intelligence agencies, using their new encryption powers, could use the government’s coronavirus tracing app as a gateway to gain access to all of the information on your phone.”
In an article published by the ABC on 23 April, it was made apparent that a contract to store the data collected from this app was sent overseas to US retail and technology giant, Amazon. Legally, this data would be obtainable by US law enforcement agencies, as a 2018 law enables them to access information held by US-registered data companies, regardless of location.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged those in contact with Covid-19 to download the app, stating “If you download this app you’ll be helping save someone’s life.”
The Prime Minister has also stated that is not mandatory to download the app which dismisses the possibility of it being a criminal offence to refuse to download it. He has also stated that the app will be deleted by the Australian government once the pandemic is over.