The emergence of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed all our lives in ways we could never have imagined. Through swift and decisive action on physical distancing and movement restriction, the Federal and Victorian governments seem to have steered us away from the catastrophic situations currently playing out elsewhere in the world. We are very thankful that we seem to have avoided the worst.
But we cannot become complacent. We cannot afford to allow our freedom and privacy to be curtailed by government to such an extent that we will not be able to claw it back.
This past week, the Federal government has told Australians that we will be expected to download an app that will track and trace our every move, and keep watch over every interaction we have. The epidemiological benefits of such an app are clear, but the privacy implications are shocking.
We accept that this app is likely to play a role in the control and /or elimination of COVID-19 from Australia. But before we are expected to download it, we want reassurance that our privacy will be protected.
We ask the government to make five promises:
- a promise that there will be no compulsory or forced download of the app;
- a promise that the transfer of information upon identification of a positive case will be opt-in only;
- a promise to be entirely transparent about how our deeply personal identifying information will be collected, stored, accessed and destroyed by government;
- a promise that none of the information collected by the app will be used for purposes other than the epidemiological control of COVID-19;
- a promise that every trace of the app and its tracking capabilities will be disabled as soon as is practicable from a public health perspective.
Privacy is important, and should not be used as currency to buy back our other freedoms.
Liberty Victoria calls on the Federal government to make the 5 promises.
Our freedom should not cost our privacy.
For enquiries contact Liberty Victoria at
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 9670 6422