Data shows public transport usage has fallen off a cliff as COVID-19 cases grow in Sydney


Sydneysiders are keen to keep working from home, transport data suggests, as a small number of new COVID-19 infections continue to be linked to clusters around the city.

While trips on Sydney’s public transport network had shown signs of recovery — patronage in December was at the highest levels since March’s lockdowns — an ABC analysis of tap-on data shows it has since fallen off a cliff.

About 80,000 to 100,000 trips were taken during the peak morning and afternoon periods in Sydney on Monday, when many people returned to work after a summer break.

That’s less than half of the 200,000 to 250,000 trips on the corresponding day last year.

A total of about 1 million trips were taken on Monday, half that of the second Monday in January a year ago.

About 200,000 tap-ons were recorded in the Sydney CBD, compared with 500,000 a year ago.

The public health orders requiring employers to allow staff to work remotely were repealed on December 14.

On December 11, trips on Sydney’s public transport network — which includes buses, trains, light rail, ferries and metros — reached their highest level since the pandemic reached Australia in March.

About 1.4 million trips were taken each day in mid-December, still well below pre-pandemic averages of about 2.4 million a day in early March.

However, the first cases linked to the Avalon Cluster on Sydney’s northern beaches were revealed on December 16.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday said workers needed to use common sense if they were going to head back to the office.

“We don’t want to discourage any activity, so long as it is done in a COVID-safe way,” she said.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian encouraged workers in October to return to the office.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

She said mandatory masks on public transport were a “fourth line of defence” against the virus.

In October, when NSW had almost two weeks without any locally acquired COVID-19 cases, Ms Berejiklian encouraged the state’s public sector to return to offices.

Not a ‘fresh start to the new year’

AC3, an IT service provider, employs 285 people in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.

CEO Simon Xistouris said only 15 of the 242 staff who work in the company’s Pitt Street headquarters chose to go in to the office on Monday.

“I was quietly hoping that people would come back after Christmas, they would think, ‘OK, great, let’s start fresh in the new year, let’s start getting back into the office,,” he said.

“But yesterday and today, we haven’t seen that.”

Mr Xistouris said the company had a policy of enabling staff to work remotely during the pandemic, but in December, had encouraged people to come back to the office in the new year.

Up to Christmas, 84 per cent of the company’s staff were working from home.

He said regular staff surveys had shown that when asked why staff wanted to work at home, about 90 per cent had cited their concerns about using public transport.

Many of the AC3 workers have long commutes, including from Sydney’s northern beaches, and the Sutherland Shire.

“I think the recent cluster outbreaks in Berala and the northern beaches has shaken a few people,” he said.

“I think by and large, the largest reason for not coming to the office is the commute.

“People are worried and just don’t want to risk it.”

The Berala cluster now stands at 27, with another case reported yesterday.

Mr Xistouris said productivity had increased while people were working from home and the reason for encouraging staff back to the office was to protect their mental health.

“People are isolated, they are working in their own home,” he said.

“We’re seeing signs of people getting stressed out, burnt out, anxious, short tempered.”

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Cyber attackers leaked confidential COVID-19 vaccine data


The EMA’s update on the breach came after an Italian cybersecurity firm, Yarix, said it found hacked documents related to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s authorisation and commercial processes on the so-called dark web.

An attacker released a blog post there that contained files from the EMA, including confidential email messages related to vaccine production and marketing, Yarix Chief Executive Officer Mirko Gatto said in an interview. Screen shots and documents in the post referenced an EMA secure communications portal that’s reserved for authorised personnel, Gatto said.

Italian authorities

Yarix reported the matter to the Italian authorities, the CEO said, but it’s not working directly with the EMA. The agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the firm’s disclosures.

Pfizer and BioNTech said last month that some documents they submitted to the EMA were accessed in the hack. The companies said that none of their systems had been breached.

A Pfizer spokesman declined to comment beyond the initial statement in December. A BioNTech representative didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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The EMA signed off on a second vaccine, from Moderna, earlier this month. Currently under review is a third vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. The regulator has said its drugs advisory panel could issue an opinion on that shot by January 29.

The EMA is also conducting a rolling review of a potential vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, though a decision on that shot is further off because a large late-stage trial hasn’t yielded results yet.

Since the pandemic began, hackers aligned with governments including Russia and China have been accused of targeting companies and research institutions.

Cybersecurity researchers at International Business Machines disclosed that unknown hackers were targeting companies and government agencies involved in vaccine distribution. Microsoft said hackers in Russia and North Korea had targeted seven “prominent” companies working on vaccines and treatment research.

Bloomberg

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Fleet efficiency and productivity are in the data. But can you see it? 


In logistics, coping with fluctuations in demand is all part of the business. That said, 2020 has undoubtedly seen extremes in all areas of the market. Keeping the fleet on the road and operating efficiently has taxed managers all over Europe, and many are facing twin battles of expanding capability and ensuring continued efficiency.

If we question what efficiency means in the logistics sector, then surely “serving more customers better with fewer resources” is the simplest answer. Achieving that goal in today’s highly competitive logistics and supply space is no small undertaking, especially when the market’s larger players have much more to invest in infrastructure and technology than smaller outfits.

However, the nature of fleet management software and hardware is such that smart code and kit (software and hardware, in IT terms) is a great leveler and is used to drive the types of savings that flatten out an uneven playing field.

Single platforms of collected technologies aimed specifically at the sector create more efficient operations across the board. Physical telemetry on vehicles and smart devices at distribution points combine with pure-play technologies like open APIs and powerful databases, for example.

The goals are improved productivity using finite resources, increased profitability, happier staff and drivers, and positive customer experiences. The nature of logistics is such, too, that savings mean less environmental impact. In short, profit margins, the planet, and people (staff and customers) all win when efficiency is realized.

The detail in the connections

For the fleet manager, having access to comprehensive information that’s been collected and processed by logistics solutions is highly empowering. Using the single case of collected telemetry data, operations staff can ensure vehicles spend less time on inefficient routes, pulled-up at the roadside, or in the repair workshop.  The CFO sees more customers served more quickly, at lower fuel costs and drivers feel under less pressure (hence reducing the chance of inappropriate driving).

In-vehicle technologies feedback on driving style, idling times, and fuel consumption so that this information can be used as coaching materials for staff. Some companies even use this data to “game-ify” drivers’ performance; awarding the good, incentivizing the less-good, and improving morale with a little healthy competition.

Stylish driving

Balancing the need for efficiency with individual schedules and performance targets is a contentious area for any supply chain business. Mindful driving lowers fuel costs and pollution levels and means a great deal less wear and tear on tires, engines, and bodywork. Here, too, technology can be used in-vehicle to encourage responsible driving, and overall metrics can be used to better plan when vehicles need to go in for scheduled maintenance. The combination of business data that shows long-term trends in demand can inform those schedules to better effect so that proactive maintenance can be lined up during slower periods.

For drivers, efficiencies similarly come from many smaller factors adding up to more significant gains. A live schedule on a driver’s mobile not only reduces paper waste but has the added advantage of over-the-air updates. Canceled deliveries and additional stops can be created on the fly, so customers get reached faster than they might otherwise, ticking boxes for fewer truck rolls, more efficient staffing, less fuel burnt, and improved customer service.

Today’s fleet management technology creates opportunities like these for companies that can differentiate themselves via quality of care; for their customers, for the environment, and for the bottom line, too.

Conclusion

Most fleet managers will have made any sweeping operational changes already, leading to fundamental changes in the way the company works. But from that point on, gains in efficiency and productivity is a numbers game: attention to detail and small wins add up and multiply over an extended fleet’s operations. Reducing every journey’s idle time by three percent may seem like a small saving, but with fleet management technology, that saving – along with dozens of others – begin to add up.

Even a small operation that utilizes a dozen vehicles or so will find that Verizon Connect‘s technology will create those savings and produce a significant return on investment in short order.

To find out more about how Verizon Connect can change the way your company operates, get in touch here for UK readers or here for Dutch / Belgian readers. Verizon Connect has the technology that opens up competition with the outfits a hundred times bigger.



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State Street to insist companies disclose diversity data


State Street’s $3.1tn investment arm will start voting against directors of big companies that fail to disclose the racial and ethnic make-up of their boards, a move that will increase the mounting pressure on corporations to diversify their leadership. 

For this year, the Boston-based asset manager is only calling on companies to report the information. But beginning in 2022, it will also vote against the chair of the nominating and governance committees of companies that do not have at least one minority board member. 

The threat applies to all companies in the S&P 500 and FTSE 100, many of which count State Street Global Advisors as a top shareholder owing to its large passive fund business. Starting in 2022, State Street will also demand that S&P 500 companies report the racial and ethnic composition of their entire workforce.

“As long as a company is in an index, we are going to hold that stock, so we need to make sure that those companies are doing the right things to drive value creation for our clients who are their shareholders over the long term,” chief executive Cyrus Taraporevala told the Financial Times.

This move builds on State Street’s announcement last year that it would vote against the boards of companies that scored poorly on its homegrown sustainability metric, known as the “responsibility factor”. It highlights the business world’s growing focus on racial equality as part of the broader environmental, social and governance movement. 

“The preponderance of evidence demonstrates clearly and unequivocally that racial and ethnic inequity is a systemic risk that threatens lives, companies, communities and our economy — and is material to long-term sustainable returns,” Mr Taraporevala wrote in a letter set to be sent to chief executives on Monday, outlining the specifics of its new policy.

State Street’s announcement follows a string of similar moves in the financial sector.

Goldman Sachs said last January it would no longer take companies public unless they had one diverse board candidate. And Nasdaq announced in December that it would require all companies listed on its exchange to have two diverse directors on their board or explain why they are not capable of doing so. 

Only about one in three companies listed on the Nasdaq exchange currently meet that criteria — so if its proposal is approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it could trigger a big shift in board nominations.

In 2020, State Street voted to re-elect the entire board of 26 of the 56 companies in the S&P 500 that had no directors from a racial or ethnically diverse background, according to a report from pressure group Majority Action. BlackRock and Vanguard, the two other largest passive fund managers in the world, voted to re-elect the full slate of directors at 52 and 51 of these companies, respectively, according to the report.

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How a data scientist beat the polls by nailing the Georgia senate race




How a data scientist beat the polls by nailing the Georgia senate race | Fortune

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Cybersecurity expert calls for replacement technology following Tasmanian ambulance patient data leak


A cybersecurity expert has called on the Tasmanian Government to replace its ambulance communication technology to prevent future breaches of confidential patient information.

It was revealed on Friday the private details of every Tasmanian who had called an ambulance since November last year had been published by a third party to a list online that was still updating each time paramedics were dispatched.

The unencrypted information came from pagers being used by paramedics.

Darren Hopkins, a partner at McGrathNicol — a national company which advises governments and businesses on cybersecurity risks — said it was very difficult to protect sensitive data on radio because it was such old technology.

Mr Hopkins said replacement technology would be needed because while pagers work well in remote areas, it was very complicated to encrypt the information being transmitted by them.

“When you find an issue with the technology you’re using, you research and find an alternative and implement it as soon as you can,” he said.

He said governments across the country struggled with this issue, with a similar incident happening in Victoria in 2014, but most data breaches were internet-based, not radio-based like this one was.

The details of every Tasmanian that had called an ambulance since November 2020 was published online.(ABC News)

“They’ve taken what was radio data, converted it into text-readable data and published it online, and that’s particularly concerning because anyone could have captured and have a copy of that information by now,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said because the website was not run by a corporate entity, it was pretty much impossible to know who has accessed the information and when.

He said it was vital important information was not easily accessible.

“Just don’t make it publicly available, just encrypt it … it’s a fundamental concept of most security to be honest.”

Tasmanians’ private information ‘no longer secure’

Tasmanian Labor MP Michelle O'Byrne
Michelle O’Byrne says the Government had been warned repeatedly about the risks of data breaches.(ABC News: Laura Beavis)

The Government has been criticised for years about its lack of investment in information and communications technology (ICT), including by industry professionals.

Shadow Minister for ICT Michelle O’Byrne slammed the Government’s response so far, saying simply referring the matter to police did not address the years of inaction on data protection.

She said the Government had been warned repeatedly information stored in the Department of Health and Human Services was particularly vulnerable, with auditor-general reports in 2015 and 2018 and 2019.

“This Government has failed to address a known risk about patient information, and while they’ve always promised to do something, have failed to do anything,” she said.

She said Tasmanians should be concerned about how safe their information was.

“If the Government is not able to keep their information safe now and can’t do anything about that information that’s been published now, then what safety and security and confidence can we have that our information will be secure into the future?” she said.

“The fact that you can access this data so easily is an absolute betrayal of Tasmanians’ trust.”

Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Adrian Bodnar confirmed in a statement the matter had been referred to them for assessment.

Health Minister Sarah Courtney speaks at a media conference
Tasmanian Health Minister Sarah Courtney says an internal review of the data breach is underway.(ABC News: Scott Ross)

“Tasmania Police has contacted the administrator of the site who has voluntarily removed it,” he said.

In a statement, Health Minister Sarah Courtney said the data breach was “extremely concerning” and Ambulance Tasmania was taking appropriate steps to address it.

“I understand it may be distressing for those affected and I can assure Tasmanians that the Government is taking all the necessary steps to protect the privacy of our patients,” she said.

“An internal review into the circumstances which led to the breach is underway.”

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Chlorinated data – Why Google and Facebook are shifting British data to America | Britain


GOOGLE AND Facebook collect more data about what people are doing on the internet—the web pages they read, the services they use, the links they click—than any other companies. Those data are used to construct profiles of internet users, against which personalised advertisements may be sold. This year, as a consequence of Brexit, the firms are moving legal responsibility for that data from Dublin, where it has sat for the past few years under European law, to California, where both technology firms have their headquarters.

Bits of data themselves will not physically move—datasets are already copied onto servers around the planet in order to ensure reliable service independent from geography. It is legal responsibility for those bits that is moving, some time in 2021. Google and Facebook users in Britain will be informed of the move through one of the regular, tedious sets of terms and conditions which they are asked to accept.

Google’s and Facebook’s move means that British residents will no longer have recourse to European data-protection law. Rather as American food standards are easier on farmers than European ones, which leads to chicken meat being washed in chlorine, so the absence of national privacy or data-protection law in America means that its digital giants can, for instance, deploy face-recognition technology with relative ease. As long as legal authority for a profile remained in Europe, that person, regardless of location, could bring a complaint under European law. Upon acceptance of the new terms, Britons will lose the protections of European law.

In principle that should not matter. British data-protection law is a close copy of Europe’s GDPR, and Britons will still be protected by that regardless of the jurisdiction that administers their data. But practical concerns mean the transfer will make a difference. First, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office will face the task of regulating giant companies some 5,000 miles away, which may be a struggle for a body that has not excelled at regulating activity even on British soil. Trying to project British law, should Facebook or Google ever break it, into California will be messy, even for post-Brexit Britain at its most global. Dublin was more convenient.

Second, America’s large tech companies are now free to lobby Westminster for favourable changes to Britain’s data-protection law, something which would have been pointless while their legal responsibilities lay in Dublin under European law. It is plausible, says Michael Veale, a lecturer in digital rights at University College London, that tech giants may seek to make Britain a regulatory beacon to Europe through this lobbying, working with the newly flexible, newly sovereign British government to demonstrate the benefits of a new deal on data protection.

It is also plausible that Britons’ standards of data protection will be downgraded over time through this lobbying, although that would risk triggering a fight with the EU over adequacy, and threaten the flow of data between Britain and the EU. It is more likely that, when it comes to their relationship with American tech giants, Britons will be stuck in a post-Brexit quagmire, with an under-resourced regulator trying to control powerful companies thousands of miles away. The EU, for all its faults, kept the locus of control closer to home.

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Chlorinated Facebook”

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‘Horrific’ Personal Data Disclosed Publicly On Ambulance Tasmania Paging System

Private details of all Tasmanians who have called emergency ambulance service since November last year have been disclosed publicly in a list that is still ongoing as it updates each time paramedics are dispatched to cater to an emergency.

According to Health and Community Services Union, the breach of Ambulance Tasmania’s paging system is “horrific” and suggested that the data dump could leave the Government open to litigation.

What’s disturbing is that these pager messages include patients’ personal details and conditions as well as the location where an incident took place. Moreover, information made public also includes a patient’s HIV status, gender and age, raising concerns it could lead to discrimination or stigmatization.

As per state secretary Tim Jacobson, “It’s unbelievable. If I were a patient I’d be upset, I’d be concerned, and I would want to know immediately both what the Government has done about closing off this but also what the Government’s now doing or likely to do to address any real breaches of privacy for those patients.”

According to internal training materials, Ambulance Tasmania’s paging system is the primary method of initial communications between the agency’s communications centre and paramedics on the ground.

This website has more than 26,000 pages long and which also includes detail of call-outs within the Tasmania Fire Service and gives off brief details on incidents, including mental health call-outs.

Half a billion dollars has already been allocated to the upgrading the state’s ailing emergency communications network by the Tasmanian Government.

Last December, Jeremy Rockliff, the acting premier announced that Telstra had been awarded the contract to deliver the Tasmanian Government Radio Network or TasGRN. One action determined within the TasGRN project was a so-called Paging Project, which opted to “replace critical end-of-life equipment and restore the paging network to a fit-for-purpose state”.

It is yet uncertain if the breach is connected to the Paging Project changeover. But, Mr Jacobson said the breach went to broader issues within Ambulance Tasmania.

Looking back, a 2019 report from consultancy firm IPM Consulting saw more than half of the 39 work health and safety requirements that being assessed were non-compliant with Australian and New Zealand standards and another 13 were just “partially” compliant.

Thus, for Mr Jacobson, the recent breach “tells an absolute story about the internal management systems and processes that are in place in Tasmania’s most critical services.”

To date, Ambulance Tasmania and the Health Minister have been contacted by media for further comments regarding the matter.

(Image source: ABC News)

Your views: on QR data, Fullarton Rd upgrade and seat boundaries


Today, readers comment on data privacy, removing right turns into Glen Osmond Rd, and electoral redistribution.

Commenting on the story: Law Society warning over COVID QR check-in data privacy

The case made in this article seems not at all unreasonable or far-fetched. I refer to the first three paragraphs in a recent BBC news report: Singapore has admitted data from its Covid contact tracing programme can also be accessed by police, reversing earlier privacy assurances.” 

Officials had previously explicitly ruled out the data would be used for anything other than the virus tracking. 

But parliament was told on Monday it could also be used “for the purpose of criminal investigation”. – Kathleen Tay

I think the COVID-specific amendment to the federal Privacy Act contains heavy penalties including prison terms, for using COVID data for any purpose other than COVID related tracing, etc. – Michael Whitrow

Political and legal correctness has gone to far. These are turbulent times which the present Government is attempting to navigate with the best intentions.

If the legislation of check0in is not as best as it could be, then perhaps a private opinion from the Law Council could have been dispatched to the Premiers Dept.

What the Law Council may have succeeded in doing, by going public, is having that already paranoidal part of society, more so, and not comply with the check-in requirements. What did they  hope to achieve with this petty point of public argument? As oft-quoted, “this is not sheep stations”.

Common sense should have prevailed, rather than oratory from the pulpit to the simply influenced congregation. – John Struik

I’ve just returned from Victoria where there is no coordinated Government-run QR system and it is up to each business to have its own check-in system. 

This means businesses have their own individual QR systems (also used as an attempt to collect marketing information) or a paper system, making it a time intensive (you have to keep entering your data) and frustrating process for people to ‘sign-in’ (I witnessed many walking straight past). Worst still, some businesses have nothing at all.

I can only commend the SA Government for the comprehensiveness of its one-stop shop approach and I feel far safer, both in terms of data use/deletion and the ability of health authorities to track contacts and ring-fence outbreaks, in this State. – Cathie Brown

Commenting on the story: Property acquisitions in major intersection upgrade

If I cannot turn right from Fullarton Road when heading north, I will not be able to access easily the Foodland and other shops on Glen Osmond Road.

I live in Parkside and usually come from Campbell Road and turn left onto Fullarton Road, then at the lights turn right into Glen Osmond Road.

There should be a turn right at the lights. Many cars wait to do this turn and most often have to wait through two or three light cycles. – Sharon Evans

The department is indeed proposing to remove the ability to turn right into Glen Osmond Road from both north and south.

To quote: “Removal of the right turn lanes on Fullarton Road travelling into Glen Osmond Road (right turn movements to be prohibited at all times)”

While I can understand the benefits this will have to traffic flow, there will be a major set of disadvantages to local residents of Parkside, Fullarton and Eastwood if they want to use Glen Osmond Road to access either their properties, schools or shops such as Frewville Foodland or Glenunga High School. 

It cannot be understood how the Department would expect people to physically travel to these locations when they have had this ability up until this point. If for example someone lives in Fullarton and wishes to drive to Frewville Foodland for their shopping, or to take their child to school at Glenunga High School, then there is no path for them to do this – the alternate being to go through the back streets, or to maybe drive up to the Britannia roundabout and then come back south, but that would be very inconvenient. 

If they do take back streets, then does the Department really expect that we should be pushing more cars onto local communities? We already have a lot of rat-running traffic and congestion in the back streets, especially around schools such as Glenunga, Parkside Primary, St Raphaels, Sunshine Christian College and the Grove Kindy and I cannot imagine adding any more to this would be a good idea. 

The removal of the right hand turn lanes would push more traffic down the following back streets:

  • Campbell Rd and Hone St, Parkside, and then Kenilworth Rd, or 
  • Gladstone St, Fullarton to get to Glen Osmond Rd east or 
  • Elizabeth St, Eastwood to get to Glen Osmond Rd west

Additionally, we could expect to see a drop in the number of customers for businesses which rely upon people travelling there from the area, and requiring to turn right from either south or north Fullarton Rd, for example Frewville Foodland or the Parkside Hotel, or any of the businesses or restaurants along Glen Osmond Rd. 

To my understanding this appears to be either a mistake or a very poorly thought out proposal which needs to be re-worked to incorporate a right hand turn lane in both directions from Fullarton Road to Glen Osmond Road. – Ben Moretti

Commenting on the story: State MP lashes ‘undemocratic’ party processes, boundary redraws

The system as it stand is as “democratic” as you will get and I didn’t see Frances complaining over the changes which occurred which kept her labor party in power for so long.

Time to give it away, methinks. – Fred Driver

In relation to boundary redraws, it is unfortunate that as populations in various areas changes, the electoral boundaries need to change so that not only do MPs need to choose which electorate they want to stand for in the next election, but voters themselves can find themselves always moving electorates even though they may have lived in the same house all their life. And possibly being represented by MPs they don’t want.

While this will continue to happen if we are not to end up with lopsided electorates in regard to number of electors in each, in an attempt to minimise the effect of boundary changes we could move to multi-member electorates.

Then if we also had proportional representation we would be well on the way to having a better electoral system, and good MPs (regardless of party status) would have a better chance of being elected. – Deane Crabb

Anyone that got into Parliament 20 years ago should have moved on by now. – Peter Hart

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Law Society warning over COVID QR check-in data privacy


South Australia’s mandatory COVID-Safe check-in system lacks “legislative safeguards”, with personal information at risk under the current laws of being used for purposes other than contact tracing, the state’s Law Society president has warned.

In a letter addressed to Premier Steven Marshall and published on the SA Law Society website yesterday, outgoing society president Tim White warned that the State Government needed to adopt “greater care” when handling personal information collected by its mandatory COVID-Safe check-in system.

The technology was introduced on December 1 to track the names and contact details of people who visit businesses with a COVID-Safe plan, to help contact tracers contain the spread of the coronavirus in the event of another SA outbreak.

All businesses with a COVID-Safe plan are required under the state’s COVID-19 emergency management directions to display a unique QR code at their premises for customers to scan upon entry, as well as to provide a paper log-book for customers who do not own smart phones.

Marshall and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens have previously assured the public that the collected data is stored in a government-secured and encrypted database, and only retained for 28 days.

“This information is only kept on the basis that we’re looking to be able to do contact tracing when a positive case is detected, which means that the data will be dumped after 28 days – it’s not being retained,” Stevens told reporters in November.

But White wrote that despite assurances from authorities, the society’s Human Rights Committee could not find any provisions within the COVID-19 emergency management directions which restrict the use or disclosure of the information.

“We are concerned about the lack of legislative safe guards in place to manage the collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal information of persons,” he wrote.

“This particularly so given that a person is compelled to provide their relevant contact details to the COVID-Safe check-in in order to go about their day to day lives.”

White wrote that while confidential personal information is offered some protection under the state’s Public Health Act, information could be disclosed in some circumstances under different state or federal laws.

“This legislative framework makes it difficult for South Australians to have confidence in the assurances provided by the State Government,” he wrote.

The Law Society has called on the Government to consider introducing a separate law “to give a legislative base to the publicly made assurances regarding the collection, storage, use and disclosure of the personal information” collected by the check-in system.

“The now mass collection of personal information requires the exercise of greater care by government authorities in the management of such information,” White wrote.

“Legislation, as proposed, will assist to assure South Australians that their personal information will not be used for any purpose other than contact tracing, and in doing so, maintain the willingness of South Australians to provide information to assist the efforts of government authorities to keep the community safe from COVID-19.”

In a statement to InDaily, a government spokesperson reiterated that data from the QR check-in system is only used by public health authorities for contact tracing and dumped after 28 days.

“The QR system has been operational since 30 November and over 3 million check ins have been deleted after 28 days,” the spokesperson said.

“Together, South Australians have embraced the COVID-Safe check-in system to help stop any potential spread of COVID-19 and keep all South Australians safe.

“The system has been key to further opening up the South Australian economy, which in turn creates and supports jobs.

“Our public health team have been doing an incredible job throughout the pandemic, and knowing that contact tracers now have another tool to quickly identify and isolate any contacts is vital to deal with any future outbreaks.”

White will be replaced by newly-appointed SA Law Society President Rebecca Sandford this year.

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