June 7, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 158


June 07, 2023

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June 06, 2023

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It's Trace Time! The COVIDSAFE App is Open for Business--Part 1

The Commonwealth Government released its COVIDSafe App for download at 6.00pm AEST on Sunday 26 April, and it surpassed 1.13 million downloads within the first 12 hours. This was far greater than expectations, with Health Minister Greg Hunt commenting that, at best, the hope was that “we might get to 1 million in five days.”

The App has generally been well received in the media, which we expect is thanks to the Commonwealth Government’s communications and resource efforts that have been made available in the rollout. 

Despite exceeding expectations, there are still privacy concerns amongst the general public. The Commonwealth Government intends to respond to these concerns by releasing the source code within two weeks. Mr Hunt has indicated that the release will ensure that there is “a constant review of the safety and security” of the App.

In addition to releasing the source code, the Commonwealth Government is looking to legislate rules regarding the App which will ensure, amongst other things, that the information collected in the App will only be used for contact tracing purposes. According to Mr Hunt, the new laws will ensure that “not even a court order during an investigation of an alleged crime” can access the data. The rules will also mandate that the data must remain in Australia, with the potential for jail terms of up to 5 years to be imposed on anyone for breaching the rules.

In Part II of this blog, we will run through some of the functionality safeguards that feature in the App, which were implemented in response to privacy concerns.

Copyright 2023 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 118

About this Author

Cameron Abbott, Technology, Attorney, Australia, corporate, KL Gates Law Firm

Mr. Abbott is a corporate lawyer who focuses on technology, telecommunications and broadcasting transactions. He assists corporations and vendors in managing their technology requirements and contracts, particularly large outsourcing and technology procurements issues including licensing terms for SAP and Oracle and major system integration transactions.

Mr. Abbott partners with his clients to ensure market leading solutions are implemented in to their businesses. He concentrates on managing and negotiating complex technology solutions, which...

Warwick Andersen Technology Lawyer KL Gates

Mr. Andersen is a senior corporate lawyer with a focus on commercial, technology and sourcing projects. He has advised on large scale outsourcing projects, technology agreements for both vendors and customers, corporate support, privacy and telecommunications regulatory work. He has acted for government departments, large listed companies, telecommunications companies and technology suppliers.

Rob Pulham Corporate Attorney K&L Gates
Special Counsel

Rob Pulham is an experienced corporate advisory and transactional lawyer with an active technology and privacy practice representing companies in the energy, manufacturing, mining, retail, health and financial services sectors, as well as government and not for profit organisations. He has extensive experience advising customers and vendors in the technology industry, with particular focus on software licensing, data privacy and protection, and systems integration projects. In his role as a senior corporate lawyer, Mr. Pulham reviews organisational policies and practices...

Senior Attorney

Ms. Aggromito is a senior lawyer in the lawyer in the Melbourne commercial technology and sourcing team focusing on IT, privacy and data protection.