OAIC releases COVIDSafe privacy report

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 23 June, 2021

OAIC releases COVIDSafe privacy report

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) received 14 enquiries related to the COVIDSafe app during its second six-month period monitoring the COVIDSafe system.

The OAIC's second six-month report on the privacy protections that apply to the contact tracing system shows that the office provided general information in response to 11 enquiries and provided assistance on how to make a complaint in response to the remaining three.

But the office received no formal complaints or notifications of data breaches during the reporting period.

The general enquiries received by the agency related to issues including changes to the Privacy Act related to COVIDSafe, and an enquiry from an individual seeking to delete data from the national COVIDSafe Data Store.

Other enquiries included one related to whether an employer could require an employee to download the app and an enquiry about a venue refusing an individual entry unless they used the contact tracing system.

The OAIC's published guidance for state and territory health authorities states that COVIDSafe is voluntary, and no individual, organisation or government agency can require any individual to download or use the app or upload their data to the Data Store.

"We continue to engage closely with Australian Government agencies and state and territory health authorities to assess implementation of the COVIDSafe privacy protections," Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said.

"Our assessment program is examining the handling of COVID app data throughout the information lifecycle, from notification, collection, use and storage to access and deletion."

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/SasinParaska

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