In another shitty coronavirus press conference (how many have we had now?), Scott Morrison rambled about a lot of things that I don’t really care enough to talk about. What did really bother me though, was his discussion about the coronavirus tracing app. Specifically, he said:
“There’s been a lot of – quite rightly – praise and commendation for our health officers, our nurses, our doctors.
“You want to help the health system, you want to help nurses, you want to help paramedics, you want to help doctors and say thank you for the great job they’re doing, then you can help them, by supporting and downloading the app which will be released soon.”
Australia’s contact tracing app is just another note in the song of using crises to sneak in surveillance and erode privacy.
The government that passed data retention cannot be trusted with it. #AusPol
— Nick Smit (@RiddleMeSmit) April 23, 2020
In a time where people are being wrongly fined and mistreated by restrictions left, right and centre, I don’t see how we can trust our government to not fuck us over with this app. A homeless man was slapped with a fine “for unlawfully being outside his place of residence during the COVID-19 outbreak”. A couple were also wrongly fined for flouting restrictions, because they posted images of an old holiday online.
For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Scott Morrison wants at least 40% of Australians to download a tracing app from the government if we want restrictions to be lifted after the next four weeks. Sounds like a goddamn ransom, and I refuse to think that this is the only way we can flatten the curve – especially considering we ARE flattening the curve.
really looking forward to when Australia requires people on welfare payments to download a tracking app on their phone in order to get the money they need to survive a pandemic
— Sorrowful (@sorrowfulnow) April 23, 2020
To expect almost half of all Australians to download a government tracking app is absurd in the highest degree. We are isolating, and we’re seeing legitimate results. Guilting people into downloading a tracing app by a government that has a history with being dodgy about our data is not the right way to go about ending a pandemic.
I definitely agree that staying home and self-isolating is a way to respect the work of medical officials during this time. But you know what isn’t? Downloading an app made by the government. What a bullshit and patronising suggestion.
If our government really cared about workers during this time, then all essential workers would get hazard pay, and all medical officials would also get a pay rise, better employment terms and better resources.
We thank our medical workers by supporting them financially, making sure their industry is resourced and their health protected, and making sure we don’t put extra stress on a pandemic by mixing in groups unnecessarily.
We do not guilt and blackmail people into downloading an app that traces our proximity with others, using freedom of movement as leverage.
Image Sources: Twitter