COVID-19 tracing data must be protected by law nationally
7th Oct 2021
Federal legislation is urgently needed to ensure COVID-19 tracing data is used only for health purposes in every state and territory, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) as the Greens plan to introduce a bill to Parliament that will ban law enforcement agencies from accessing this data.
“Unless there is serious law reform, COVID-19 data breaches are sure to become a reality,” said Mr Greg Barns SC, ALA spokesperson. “Everyone needs to have confidence that the data obtained through these QR codes is only ever used for managing the pandemic.
“There needs to be the application of serious sanctions and personal liability for leaders who allow the illegal and unethical gathering of data through these tracing apps.
“In addition, laws are needed to make it impossible for evidence obtained as a result of accessing COVID-19 tracing app data to be used in legal proceedings.
“Contact tracing apps rely on public confidence in relation to how the highly personal data that is collected will be stored and used. If people don’t have confidence that their personal data is being accessed for the sole purpose of contact tracing they will stop using the app. This will have a devastating impact on the protection of public health.
“Police, law enforcement, security agencies and many politicians have very little respect for the current privacy laws. This culture, and the extraordinary quantity of data now available, means the COVID-19 tracing app data is fertile ground for further undermining of our right to privacy. As a result, federal legislation to protect this data is urgently needed.