PRIVACY LOSS JUST A TAP AWAY FROM TODAY, KAP WARNS
9 July 2021
Police should be prohibited from accessing QR code data associated with people’s movements if the State Government is to retain community confidence that its mandatory app is for the sole purpose of contact tracing, Katter’s Australian Party Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has said.
The State Government’s ‘Check In Qld’ app is being enforced on all Queenslanders from today.
It is now mandatory for patrons at almost all venues other than private homes, including workplaces and supermarkets, to check-in to the app and there are threats of fines for businesses and organisations who do not have the QR codes in place.
Mr Dametto said the data collected through the ‘Check In Qld’ app was an undeniable form of mass community surveillance.
He said as the app had been introduced and now implemented under the guise of public health and to assist with contact tracing, it should be used by Government for that purpose only.
“Queenslanders are right to be worried that the Queensland Police Service has admitted to using this information to track alleged criminal activity in the past,” Mr Dametto said.
“In the best of faith, Queenslanders have sacrificed many of their personal freedoms in response to COVID-19.
“This willingness to cooperate should not be exploited by any government agency including the QPS – we must do all that we can to protect our personal rights and freedoms.
“The enforcement of this government-initiated QR code app has left a sour taste in many people’s mouths and, if we don’t protect their data from those wanting to use it for reasons other than contact tracing, there is a high risk of lowering the participation rate.
“This is ‘Big Brother’-style stuff and we should all be concerned – no one should want Queensland turned into a police state.
“In a visit to China in 2019, I watched the Chinse Communist Party use multiple cameras throughout their cities to successfully track and monitor the movements of its citizens.
“We don’t want to end up on that slippery slope.”
The Hinchinbrook MP said, though he and the KAP wholeheartedly supported the work of Queensland police officers, the fundamental values of personal privacy and liberty had to be respected.
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski has said publicly that he would back a move to lock officers out of the data through legislation.
“We’re absolutely concerned, because the whole point of check-in data is so we can do proper contact tracing,” he said.
“That’s what that does, and we want people to have confidence that’s what it will be used for.”
Mr Dametto urged the Palaszczuk Labor Government to pursue legislation protecting the use of personal ‘Check In Qld’ app data immediately.