Yahoo News: Virus apps co-opted to fight bikie murder

Bikie boss Nick Martin's murder at a speedway in Perth left police wanting evidence in the form of QR code check-in data from the contact tracing apps of 2,439 fans who attended the December 2020 race, Yahoo News reports. 

A government order requiring people to share information in case of a virus outbreak meant anyone who checked in that day left their name, phone number and arrival time through the SafeWA COVID-19 app or on paper.

Police issued an "order to produce" the details to the state Health Department two days after Martin was shot and killed.

They accessed the data despite Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan's promise it would only be available to contact tracing personnel.

Unable to negotiate a solution with police, Mr McGowan's government ultimately passed laws in June 2021 that banned law enforcement accessing such QR data. Other Australian states and territories introduced similar legislation.

Michelle Falstein, assistant secretary of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said Australia's privacy act was enacted before the internet was widely used and long before virtually every adult citizen and teenager had a smart phone.

"Privacy by design is something legislators or certainly government doesn't think about in Australia," she said.

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