Questions and Issues around the COVIDSafe App
7 May 2020
COVIDSafe App Response Paper
On 28 April the Pearcey Foundation released a Discussion Paper on the Australian Government's COVIDSafe tracing app. The paper can be found on here on this site.
The purpose of a Discussion Paper is to encourage discussion. That is just what has happened. There was a substantial response, with articles in the press, the whole paper included with the Engineers Australia newsletter, and dozens of emails from the technology community.
The Pearcey Foundation would like to thank everybody who took the time to comment. Many of these observations are important contributions to the debate. This Response Paper summarises these views and looks at the issues they have raised in light of subsequent developments. We also include many references to articles and other material about COVIDSafe.
This COVIDSafe App Response Paper is presented in the form of a number of questions, with relevant comments and references. We repeat our recommendation for all Australians to download and use the app. Our original conclusion that the advantages far outweigh the concerns still stands. Indeed, it has been strengthened by the responses we have received and subsequent events.
- Are the security risks worth it?
- Is Bluetooth safe?
- Does the app actually work?
- Is the 15-minute dwell time the right length?
- Why did the Government choose Amazon Web Services?
- Why can't we see the source code?
- How many downloads are needed?
- What more should the Government be doing?
- Is the level of uptake fast enough?
- What are the legal and legislative safeguards?
In conclusion, the Pearcey Foundation believes that many of the concerns over the security and privacy of the COVIDSafe app have some justification, but they are minor compared to the benefits from the widespread use of the app. Similarly, any technical issues are comparatively insignificant.
We recommend that all Australians download and activate the app.
For more information contact:
Wayne Fitzsimmons OAM
Chair, Pearcey Foundation
+61 418 382 625
Read a full copy of the paper