The Australian Government has now released its coronavirus tracing app, called COVIDSafe. To be effective, the app needs to be downloaded and used by a significant proportion of the Australian population. There are some concerns that the app will not be downloaded because of privacy considerations. The Pearcey Foundation believes these fears are largely unfounded and that the Government has sufficient measures in place to ensure the security of the application and the privacy of the data. It is a tracing app, not a tracking app. The data is stored only on a users’ phone unless they give permission for it to be uploaded. This will usually happen only if that person becomes infected with the virus. To be effective, the app relies on trust, effectiveness and education. While the Pearcey Foundation believes all three issues are being addressed, more still needs to be done to ensure the public is fully informed and that all safeguards remain in place. This Pearcey Foundation paper examines how this can be done. It is based on the collective views of a group of senior Australian ICT specialists, all of whom are of the belief that the app will be effective if widely implemented, that the government is doing enough to ensure its integrity, and that it is an important new weapon in the fight against the spread of the virus. This paper aims to show what the Government, and we as individuals, need to do to ensure the success of the COVIDSafe app.
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