Police union, opposition and lawyers call for secure data protection against COVID like laws in Western Australia

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“Since QR codes were introduced in the best interest of community health, are temporary, and rely entirely on community compliance, we believe the data collected should be free from any intrusion, outside of its original purpose. contact tracing. “

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The government of Western Australia passed a law last week to strengthen privacy laws preventing agencies other than the state health department – including the police and the anti-corruption agency from State – to access registration data.

Previously, WA police could view the database at any time, which has emerged they had done so as part of separate investigations in a shootout and stabbing.

Details of the Victorian police attempts stem from data from last month’s state budget showing community confidence in the police was at its lowest level in 10 years.

The rating of 82%, well below the target of 87%, continued its downward trend from a high of 89% in 2014/2015. Budget documents acknowledged that the decline was “due to community interactions with the police in relation to the instructions of the Chief Health Officer.”

Opposition police spokesman David Southwick said the Victorian government must follow WA’s lead and introduce urgent laws “before it is too late and trust is lost”.

“From the enforcement of Labor’s inconsistent blocks, imposing more COVID fines than any other state, and attempting to access confidential QR code data, it’s no wonder that confidence in the Victoria police force is at its lowest in a decade, ”he said.

Greens MP Tim Read said people who register with the sites shouldn’t have to worry about whether their contact details could be used for other purposes.

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“While these QR codes were put in place as a health measure to contact the trace and protect Victorians from COVID, the government cannot now reverse the script and say they can also be used by the police,” he said. -he declares. “The pandemic should never be used as a free pass for the police. “

Over 61 million records have been made on the Service Victoria app since May 1, including 29 million at 190,000 businesses and sites last week. Victorian-era Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has repeatedly emphasized the importance of QR codes in managing epidemics.

Liberty Victoria President Julia Kretzenbacher said the state should replicate WA’s laws because even a single instance of police access via a court order would severely undermine the public’s willingness to register.

“It’s not about not trusting Victoria’s justice system. This helps ensure that the general public has confidence in the confidentiality of their data, ”she said.

“The police already have a number of other powerful powers for criminal investigations.”

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