Covid 19 App Data Protection: The government opposes the demands of the new law.

The government is rejecting calls for greater protection of personal information in the Quad19 contact tracking system.

One person is using the Quaid Tracer app.

Image: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Until midnight last night, this. mandatory For most businesses and event organizers to provide customers with a way to record their visit.

While No one can be forced to scan., It is becoming increasingly difficult to resist and there are concerns that tracing data may be accessed through businesses, police or social services.

The Ministry of Health is running satisfactory advertisements that the digital diary on the government’s NZ Covid Tracer app is “kept safe and secure on your phone, and will be shared with the contact tracer if you allow”.

Covid 19 Response Minister Chris Hopkins said there is. Adequate protection.

“The government is struggling to reassure people that the information they provide will not be used for any other purpose to assist in the important task of tracking communications,” Hopkins said in a statement.

Covid 19 Response Minister Chris Hopkins.

Covid 19 Response Minister Chris Hopkins.
Image: RNZ / Dom Thomas

“We will not give up.”

However, many academics, Maori, Pacifica and lawyers are calling for more specific legislation.

Jacinta Faeli Fido of the Pacific Data Sovereignty Network says there is a collective benefit to getting the data, but the minister’s reassurance is certainly not enough.

“And we certainly don’t think the punitive measures that are in place are enough.”

Jacinta Fa'alili-Fidow, Pacific Data Autonomy Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of Moana Research

Pacific Data Autonomy and Moana Research Coordinator Jacinta Faeli Fido’s Chief Executive Officer.
Image: Provided

She wants severe penalties for data misuse.

Simpson Grierson Law Firm Partner Karen Egan said the threats to the Privacy Act, the Bill of Rights Act and the Judicial Review Procedure Act, to Minister Hopkins and the Quaid Privacy Statement itself were real.

“It still doesn’t stop another government agency, especially the law enforcement agency, from getting information from the business or … seeking a search warrant or production order,” Ngan said.

“Even the police will find it difficult to work on a voluntary basis,” he said.

“It puts the business in a bit of a difficult position, because … it’s not black and white in law.”

Maori Data Autonomous Network T-Min Raronga Data scientist Caleb Musa, along with 120 others, has signed an open letter – including Michael Baker, an adviser to the well-known Covid 19, Sioux Wiles and Michael Planck – calling for legislation from the government.

“Given that other countries have enacted legislation such as … legislation in Australia to limit the use of treaty tracing data, it is strange that Secretary Hopkins Has chosen not to give up on this issue. ” Said.

Western Australia Laws in June “to maintain community trust” In contact tracing when the police had legally obtained some tracing data to help investigate the murder.

In contrast, in Singapore, in February, the rules. Police were allowed access to contact tracing data for criminal investigations..

Compared to Singapore or Australia, New Zealand’s contact tracing system design is less centralized and more appropriate to protect people’s privacy.

Of An open letter to the bee. Last Thursday, Auckland-based technologist Dr Andrew Chen outlined the dangers.

Chen continued to put pressure on the government throughout the year.

“I started writing letters in January, because I thought we had a lot of time to try to do something before something went wrong, so we didn’t have to worry about things happening abroad,” Chen said. Learn a lesson. “

“The fact that on Thursday, the minister said, ‘we did not consider legislation’ is in direct conflict with what he said in February.

In February, Hopkins wrote back to Chen that the risks were small but added that “I acknowledge that current concerns are not complete” and that he was seeking advice on “legislative changes.”

A media report. It’s called back track. But Hopkins told RNZ that “any backtrack suggestions are completely wrong.”

Musa said violating data privacy would erode trust in the system for everyone, but especially for a high-risk community like Maori.

“This is a critical approach to fully include people from all over the Pacific, including those who are non-residents, and it depends on trust in the contact tracing system that should not be exploited,” Faye-Fedo said. Nor will it cause further trouble for Pacific communities. “

The privacy commissioner’s office said it had “raised similar issues with the minister over the past year, and will continue to provide advice as needed.”

Data Iwi Leaders Group said it did not object to expanding contact tracing in principle.

“However, we believe it is important to have a clear framework in place to ensure that this data is collected for its intended purpose only and not misused without knowledge, input or governance.” Not being done. “

National Party Deputy Leader Dr Shane Reti said the Privacy Act should cover most issues, “helping with repeated ministerial affirmations”.

The Tracer app has 3.1 million registered users, who use it at the rate of about one million scans a day. In total, the scan number is 340 million, compared to just 15 million manual diary entries during the epidemic.


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