First off, I think the concept behind CovidSafe app has merit and I totally get people’s reasoning for choosing to download it.

I won’t be downloading the app yet. I don’t think there’s anything sinister with the app. We have enough personal tracking and privacy invasions our phones and cars.

It’s the government’s inability to be transparent about it that has me worried.

Let’s face it after MyGov, Robodebt, the Census hack and other IT train wrecks, they are hardly a shining light when it comes to instilling confidence in their ability to manage our data.
This app is made from source code from the Singapore government app. The app was built here in Australia by a little known commonwealth government agency called the Digital Transformation Agency. The makers of the MyGov website.

Any app that is released as GL3 open sourced software, must have the source code available for public scrutiny when the app is released. That applies to any app from games to virus contact apps.

Open source software (OSS) is software that has its source code publicly released under the terms of a copyright licence that allow for the general use, inspection, modification and enhancement of source code by anyone. Such a licence is called an open source licence.

So where is it?

By and large, the source code will only be of interest to a handful of cyber experts and digital privacy experts. Nonetheless it would be in the public domain and people will be able to scrutinise how it works and manages data.

We’re now being told that the source code will be released in two weeks with the caveat that it’s subject to an audit by Australia’s spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate.

The Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt said that the government will need to ensure the safety and privacy of all Australians before the code is released.

“The source code will be released within two weeks,” he said.”Our first task is to make sure the security assessment is done and that there is absolute protection of privacy above all else.”

Have a think about that for a second. One would think that little detail would be ironed out before the app was released.

People say if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. When the government releases the source code, I’ll take that advice on board.


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