Monday, 18 May 2020 01:41

ACCAN concerned over technical ‘shortfalls’ of COVIDSafe app Featured

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Telecommunications consumer group ACCAN says it continues to have concerns about the technical shortfalls of the COVIDSafe app, as well as issues relating to public education about the app.

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) CEO Teresa Corbin said that she was pleased that the legislation was amended to address a number of concerns raised by ACCAN and other consumer groups across the fields of health, technology, privacy, human rights, digital inclusion, communications and community interests.

While welcoming the passage of the Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Bill 2020 through Parliament, Corbin said, “We know that for vulnerable groups, such as survivors of domestic violence, there is anxiety about whether someone could deduce who their close contacts are and when and for how long they have visited them”.

Corbin said that ACCAN has highlighted a need for “clear, easy to understand education about privacy aspects of the app and how it operates both for the general population” - and “more specifically for multicultural and Indigenous communities, in multiple languages and in Easy English”.

“There’s quite a bit of confusion amongst some consumers as to what the app does. We’ve heard cases where older Australians in particular are concerned that without the COVIDSafe app, they’re missing out on some sort of personal protection from COVID-19.

“We need to make sure that any public messaging focuses on the app’s contribution to community safety, rather than individual safety.”

Corbin said ACCAN will continue to engage with the Government and Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 on the COVIDSafe app and appropriate safeguards for consumers.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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