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.”Read More
The Federal Government’s coronavirus tracing app has raised some privacy concerns amongst the Australian public. Even some of our government Ministers have ruled out downloading the app due to such concerns! However, the independent cyber security body tasked with reviewing the app has said that it has found no major concerns with it.Read More
We previously blogged about the plethora of Asian countries who are using telecommunications networks, smart phone applications and messaging services to inform, track and monitor individuals who may have contracted COVID-19. It appears that Australia’s eyes are on similar technology opportunities, as according to an article from the SMH, the Federal Government will ask Australians “within weeks” to opt in and sign up for a mobile application that uses tracking data to alert individuals as to their risks of contracting COVID-19.
According to the article, the relevant application will monitor the movements of participants to inform individuals whether they have been close to someone already infected with COVID-19. The application also has the functionality to enable someone who has contracted the virus to notify health authorities and ensure that an alert is sent to anyone he or she has been in contact with over the previous 24 hours. Both of these processes are part of what is known as “contact tracing”.Read More
A slew of Asian countries have begun to use telecommunications networks, Smart Phone Applications and messaging services to assign, inform, track and/or monitor individuals which may have contracted COVID-19, including those which are required to undertake a process of self-isolation, according to articles from Wired, Channel News Asia and Bangkok Post.
In China, apps such as WeChat and AliPay have been utilised to assign individuals health codes, referred to as colour codes, to determine whether they should undertake a process of self-isolation. According to the NY Times a green code enables its holder to move about unrestricted, a yellow code asks the individual to stay home for seven days whilst a red code requires a two-week quarantine. In South Korea, government authorities have sent out texts detailing the movements of specific people infected with COVID in addition to using a smartphone app to ensure people who are required to self-isolate are staying home.Read More
Until recently, a security vulnerability in the social media platform Instagram, allowed Hyp3r to illicitly harvest millions of Instagram users’ data and track their locations.
In a similar manner to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that plagued Facebook following the 2016 US presidential election, this latest example of Hyp3r’s mass data collection was discovered through a journalistic investigation and was not uncovered by the social media platform.Read More
Westfield has sidelined the SMS feature of its ticketless parking system this week due to concerns it breached Australian privacy laws.
Westfield’s newfangled ticketless parking system attempted to make parking quicker and easier for shoppers by scanning car number plates on entry and exit of their carparks, and sending an SMS notification to registered parkers recording their entry time and an alert message when their free parking time was nearly up. To register for the service, users were merely required to provide a name, license plate number and phone number (with no verification).
Privacy experts raised the alarm that any person could register false details and track another person’s physical location via the SMS notifications. This was a particular worry for those in domestic violence situations and could also potentially enable stalking or thieves to determine when homeowners had left their houses. The feature’s Terms and Conditions failed to address any of these issues.
The SMS service is currently suspended as internal investigations are conducted, though the rest of the ticketless parking system and app continue to operate.
Learn more about the ticketless parking system here.
Read the ITNews report on the issue here.