The New South Wales (NSW) government has followed Queensland in broadly expanding its contact tracing mandate, but has promised to break the nationwide cycle of police accessing users’ private location data.
From 12 July, educational institutions, offices, supermarkets, entertainment centres, entertainment facilities, places of worship and all others will be required to set up QR code scanning stations to facilitate contact tracing through the Seva NSW app.
It comes amid growing concerns and public confidence after police in both Queensland and Western Australia (WA) had access to contact tracing data legally on at least one occasion—despite announcements by state governments that the data would only be used for contact tracing. The purpose will be for tracing.
“It’s about keeping customers and employees safe and all businesses reopening as quickly as possible,” said Victor Dominello, Minister of Digital and Customer Service said.
The new requirements follow an outbreak of a highly transmissible delta version of the CCP (Communist Party of China) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, which prompted NSW into a two-week lockdown, and currently more than 400 locally transmitted cases.
“We know that the delta version of COVID-19 progresses rapidly and we must do everything possible to bring it under control,” Dominello said.
The NSW Government has attempted to address concerns about contact tracing use of Service NSW, by insisting that the app’s data will only be used for contact tracing purposes by health authorities.
“The NSW Government recognizes the importance of maintaining the confidentiality and confidentiality of check-in information collected under the Public Health Order,” a NSW Health spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
The spokesperson said that, under the Public Health (COVID-19 Gathering Restrictions) Order (No. 2) 2021, the check-in information collected under the order “is to be used only for the purpose of contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic”. . “
The spokesperson also said that the health order was strictly defined, and had no power to exempt under any circumstances, which would overrule the order.
Following the revelation that WA’s police gained access to users’ location data in two separate investigations, groups such as Digital Rights Watch expressed serious concerns about the government’s non-compliance with their own promises.
“The public was explicitly told that contact tracing check-in data will not be used for anything other than public health contact tracing purposes,” a Digital Rights Watch spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
“Police’s access to WA COVID-19 check-in-app data is a betrayal of this public trust.”