back to article You have one job, Australian PM tells contact-tracing app, and that’s talking to medicos

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the government he leads will never see the data on the nation’s imminent coronavirus-busting-and-contact-tracing app. Speaking at his daily briefing, the PM dodged a question about when the app will emerge, but did say “the information that is collected from that app goes …

  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Given this government's track record, and the relevant minister's in particular, it baffles me that anyone would trust them with any amount of data, private or otherwise.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    Morrison primer

    For our overseas brethren, Scott Morrison is a combination of the following:

    - Evagelical fruitcake

    - Trump supporting right winger

    - Ex marketing wonk

    - All round pretend "regular guy"

    As fake as a three dollar watch.

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Morrison primer

      and your point is ? He is a pollie, so what ? Not as scary as bad news messengers of the Green Grinches and their ilk. BTW, what has he said as an evangelical that is odd or do you have a secular sanctified belief system disguised as calm rationality that you wish to avoid defending ?

    2. john.jones.name
      Go

      Australian Gov

      while all the above on Scotty from marketing is true one thing that this Covid-19 era has prompted :

      The Prime Minister of Australia now Listens and refers to actual science and qualified people in press briefing...

      That would have been unheard of previously... simply by doing that he's gone up in a lot of peoples estimations...

      All they have to do to gain trust is open source the app and make the database of ephemeral ID's under the control of the health department (which it has to be since they are going to be the ones allowing the upload from a infected person (prevention of false positives) then signing the download to your device )

      If they adopt the Apple/Google API (which they have to otherwise they loose 50% of the population target of phones without which it becomes increasing irrelevant) then they have to use it in that manor they just cant do it any other way...

      it's if they open source it to prove they did not screw up other parts along the way which would be the interesting thing...

      also if it was open source then to be honest I would use it, although I have very little trust in this government at least I could see how it was working myself.

      1. e^iπ+1=0
        Pirate

        All they have to do to gain trust is

        ...

        plus

        "unclear if it will be possible to assess if the PM’s words are correct."

        times

        Inherent truthiness coefficient

        equals

        ...?

        > 0.5 Gimme tracking asap. I'm not quite dead yet.

        else

        self isolate anonymously, thx

      2. kartstar

        Re: Australian Gov

        > ...since they are going to be the ones allowing the upload from a infected person (prevention of false positives) then signing the download to your device)

        My understanding was that this is not how it worked.This article explains it differently, although I don't believe it either.

        https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-20/government-insists-coronavirus-tracing-app-wont-track-locations/12163756

        From what I've read my understanding is that upon installing the app, your phone sends to the Australian Government controlled servers 4 pieces of information (name, phone, postcode, age range). It also communicates what random ID it's using to the server on a regular basis. Your phone will also capture the random ID's of phones it is nearby (with the app installed) for more than 15 minutes stored locally. If an approved health department gets your OK you can trigger the upload those ID's your app has captured which can then be correlated to the data the health department already has, find out which people you were in contact with, and contact those people via their phone.

        Given the horrible laws that have recently been passed in Australia regarding law enforcement access to peoples private data via anti-encryption legislation (sometimes without a warrant), there would be nothing stopping these agencies from seizing the data on your phone, or compelling the health department to grant access to that data in secret. Even if a law is passed to restrict the access to this data, without modifying those existing laws it will be down to a legal fight to determine if they were right in doing this, after they have already accessed the data. Similar to the metadata laws, where the laws specified only 22 departments, but in reality more than 80 departments are accessing the data due to existing laws prior to those metadata ones.

        The better solution for anyone that cares about the privacy of citizens, is simply not to install the app until the government enshrines personal privacy in existing laws.

      3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Australian Gov

        The Prime Minister of Australia now Listens and refers to actual science and qualified people in press briefing...
        Yeah... that's what's so puzzling.

        Or perhaps it shouldn't be. He's following the science here because 1) it's politically convenient to do so in this particular circumstance and 2) he doesn't have a choice. Once this is over it'll be back to business as usual for the anti-science brigade. A leopard can't change its shorts.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. The Central Scrutinizer

    As I said in a post 2 or 3 days ago, the central problem is that the government has consistently and maliciously shafted people on a ton of issues, i.e. the 2016 census debacle, the appalling Robodebt targeting the most vulnerable, the My Health Record fiasco and the combined clustetfucks of metadata retention and encryption busting legislation.

    Suddenly we are supposed to just trust them because there is a health emergency.

    You know what would engender trust? Making the code open source, not just bits of it.

    Governments of all stripes have an appalling record of safeguarding data, even with the best of intentions.

    Law enforcement has already been knocking on the door, requesting access to data from the app.

    No thank you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sadly, London to a brick that TPTB will never ...

      ... learn the lesson that when they really need the public's cooperation with some kind of tracking when it's a matter of life and death, their blatant disregard for privacy concerns around mass surveillance has come with real costs. The data may be there and 'free', but trust isn't.

  5. Rustbucket

    Apple market share

    I'd be deeply surprised if "Apple enjoys more than half of the Australian market" in mobile phones.

    Maybe close to that in new sales but there's millions of existing Android phones that won't be replaced anytime soon.

    BTW while all the nasty things Winkypop said about Morrison are true to an extent, he's nothing like as bad as the similar characteristics would be expressed in an equivalent US politician. (left wing voter here)

  6. eldakka Silver badge

    Cold Comfort

    Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the government he leads will never see the data on the nation’s imminent coronavirus-busting-and-contact-tracing app.

    Considering the PM turnover rate in Australia over the last decade, this statement will only have a valid lifetime of, what? 12-months at the outside? Then there will be a different leader, and all bets are off.

    "... into a national data store that is fully encrypted and the Commonwealth Government has no access whatsoever to the information.”

    Considering in Australia the government has the legal authority to issue decryption orders, something being encrypted is no protection from the government.

    I haven't seen mention of how long the data will be retained for, therefore whether he or his or the current or even the next government may never access the data, what about a different near-future government?

    And has the My Health Record fiasco shows, the government (this government) is fully capable of changing its own laws it finds inconvenient. For example, the original MyHR Act had it as an opt-in service. However, take-up was so low the government changed the law to make it opt-out. Therefore their word or any current legislation they pass is meaningless, as they have a proven history of going back on their word - and their own already enacted legislation - and change it and the legislation to do what they promised they would not do.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Cold Comfort

      Specifically...

      “the information that is collected from that app goes into a national data store that is fully encrypted and the Commonwealth Government has no access whatsoever to the information.”

      Really? It's just complete bullshit.

  7. murrby

    I don't believe you!

    See title

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