OPINION: Happy to get the COVID-19 app, despite privacy issue

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
Many are uncomfortable with the personal information that would be tracked by the Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) app.
Camera IconMany are uncomfortable with the personal information that would be tracked by the Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) app. Credit: DARREN ENGLAND/AAPIMAGE

What is privacy? I make no apologies that the subject matter of my last dozen or so opinion pieces have been dominated by the COVID-19 situation. It has permeated every aspect of our life, so it’s difficult to give an opinion on anything else.

But as with previous pieces, the area in which it has crept into has been in the forefront of our lives for many years before.

This time, it’s privacy, or even the notion of the governing bodies of our great land “keeping an eye” on us.

Who has downloaded or been asked to download the Government’s new COVIDSafe app on to their phones?

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Have you done it without giving it a second thought? Have you flat-out refused to, stalwart in your privacy beliefs?

Or have you remained undecided, finding a balance between fear of giving private information about yourself and helping the track-and-trace process the Government currently uses (to good effect, the evidence would suggest).

Judging by people’s reactions on social media, the main objection to the app is its ability to track our location. After all, it’s the purpose of the app itself to ascertain people’s position in relation to others.

A large proportion of our community feel uncomfortable with strangers having access to that type of information.

While I agree it is far from ideal, it is worth pointing out it is nigh-on impossible to go about our daily lives without this exact thing happening.

This is not confined to our computers and smartphones, either.

It is common knowledge companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram mark our location in a variety of different ways, but it doesn’t stop there.

Every electronic purchase made, every use of an EFTPOS card, gives our location automatically.

When we go out for a drive, our car registration and the identification information attached can be pinged by camera after camera, even in more remote areas.

Other than going “off the grid”, it seems impossible to remove ourselves from this reality, to become untraceable.

I will download the app, for the same reason I still maintain social distancing, wash my hands a silly amount of times a day and don’t shake people’s hands — it all forms part of the bigger picture.

Particularly in WA, where our Government has done so well on our behalf and we have been so blessed with a diligent (for the most part) community.

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