COVIDSafe Bill, Parliament must strengthen protections

The Australian Government has released the Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Bill 2020 (COVIDSafe Bill) which will be considered by Parliament this week. The COVIDSafe Bill largely reproduces the biosecurity orders which made it possible to begin to download and operate the COVIDSafe App (App).

The NSW, Queensland and South Australian Councils for Civil Liberties, along with the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, support the introduction of effective digital contact tracing if it is underpinned by robust privacy and transparency legislation.

The joint statement has been sent to the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and Opposition Leader, along with all MPs and Senators. 

In the statement we recommend that a number of issues should be considered by Parliament for incorporation into the Act – or for Government action - to more adequately protect the privacy of Australian citizens who have voluntarily participated in this tracking exercise.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the statement - 'The civil liberties groups want the government to change the design to ensure personal data is not stored on a central database, arguing this increases the danger from a single cyber attack.'

'More needs to be done to ensure that the app does not compromise data protection and thereby increase the risk of illegal and inappropriate use of data or surveillance of Australians.'

Read the full statement HERE.