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Volume X, Number 187

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July 02, 2020

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It’s Trace Time! The COVIDSafe App is Open for Business – Part II

In Part I of this blog, we briefly touched on some of the safeguards that the Commonwealth Government has indicated that they will implement to address privacy concerns. Those proposed new safeguards are intended to satisfy many of the privacy concerns. However, there are additional safeguards that have been implemented in connection with the functionality of the App, which we focus on in Part II here.

Primarily, the App’s functionality does not use location-based information. Rather, the App uses what is called a “Bluetooth digital handshake” which tracks the Bluetooth connections between users’ phones. This way it can identify who you were near for a certain length of time (if they also have the app installed and running), but it cannot tell where you both were. Acting health department secretary, Caroline Edwards, indicated in a recent senate inquiry that the App will not be collecting geolocational data and only State and Territory public health officials will have access to the data collected. Additionally, the data will be encrypted at all times, except for when it is accessed by those public health officials, when it can then be used only for the sole purpose of tracing COVID-19.

For the App to be successful, experts have indicated that there will need to be at least 40% take-up throughout the general population. The issue for the Government is to educate people on privacy safeguards.  This has been done well so far, but getting to 40% is a large hurdle that not even a far more cooperative society in Singapore managed to reach.  Further, the App will need to be open and running in the background, with push notifications and Bluetooth enabled for it to work.

The number of downloads over the next few weeks will be a crucial aspect to establishing whether the App will be successful.

Copyright 2020 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 118

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About this Author

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

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...

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Warwick Andersen Technology Lawyer KL Gates
Attorney

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.

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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...

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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.

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