Bookmark June 22, 2020 as the day the citizens of 52 Commonwealth countries take back control of their destiny. Form a group and co-ordinate with the UK. No more unlawful government. Government belongs to the people not sheeple.
So far in Australia there are allegedly 5.8 million certifiable sheeple who loaded a laughable phone tracing app; that leaves 19 million thinkers who could be a fighting force. Are you one of them?
Do Not Trust the PM’s Promises Regarding the COVID-19 Tracking Data
No matter which side of the political divide they fall on, what sort of creed they adhere to, or whether they’re law-abiding citizens or not, the overwhelming majority of Australians have followed government advice and locked down for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now PM Scott Morrison has suggested a solution: a phone tracing app that records social graph data. It’s supposed to allow us all to step out of our isolation bubbles. However, most Australians aren’t taking it up due to a lack of trust when it comes to government and our data and privacy.
The COVIDSafe app was launched on 26 April. It stores the details of people a user comes into contact with and alerts them if one of these contacts is subsequently diagnosed with the virus. The app is based on a similar such application being used in Singapore during the pandemic.
So far, 5.7 million Australians or around 24 percent have downloaded it. The government has advised that at least 40 percent of the nation need to do so for it to be effective. And it’s relying on the public for this outcome, as early murmurs about mandatory participation were quickly reined in.
The numerous data protection assurances made to the public show that the government is keenly aware of the lack of trust in it. And now AFTINET has shown these hesitations are somewhat justified if you consider what else the government’s been up to with Singapore over the last half year.
Negotiations on the revised Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) came to an end on 23 March. Involving a chapter of the Australia-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, the updated DEA seeks to modernise digital economy trade rules between the two countries.
But, while the details of the document won’t be released to the public until it’s been signed off on, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has published a summary of the Australia-Singapore DEA key outcomes on its website.
And as AFTINET (Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network) convenor Dr Patricia Ranald points out, the two most prominent outcomes that our nation and Singapore have agreed to are the exact measures that the government has guaranteed won’t apply when it comes to the COVIDSafe app.
Morrison has repeatedly assured the public that app data will be stored in Australia, and the source code will be released for the public to scrutinise. However, the Singapore DEA aims to open up the free flow of data across borders and eradicate any requirement to release source codes.
“We’re pointing out the contradiction between those two principles and saying that the Singapore agreement will have to be changed if this is going to be required for the app,” Dr Ranald told Sydney Criminal Lawyers.
Extinguishing privacy, phone app tied to facial recognition
A COVID-19 app directive released by health minister Greg Hunt on 25 April ensures that pandemic-related data will be stored in Australia, while government services minister Stuart Robert has stated that the source code will soon be released.
The Australia-Singapore DEA “summary says that generally the framework of the agreement is to allow free flows of data across borders and no requirements to store data locally,” Dr Ranald continued, “and that companies cannot be required to reveal source codes.”
The academic further explains that the DEA “is based on an agenda being pushed heavily by global tech companies and others that use a lot of data”. She added that from “their point of view, they just want free data, and they don’t want to have to expose their source code for scrutiny”.
A source code is the information that a digital program runs on. According to Dr Ranald, digital rights groups want transparency around these codes as they can contain biases. It’s been well documented that facial recognition technology can contain racial or gender bias.
So, this scenario reveals that the Morrison government wants to crank up the economy mid-pandemic. Therefore, it’s calling on the public to overlook its mistrust and download a data collecting app, accompanied by a set of guarantees that it knows are important to the public.
Yet, for a six month period ending at the time the COVID-19 restrictions began to come into play, this same government had been negotiating an agreement behind closed doors that would open up the Australian public to the very same measures it’s being promised protection against at present.
“Australia is also participating in a broader set of negotiations that deal with e-commerce and digital trade at the World Trade Organisation,” Dr Ranald said, adding that the agreement only involves 76 developed nations out of the total 164 WTO member states.
And it’s this WTO plurilateral agreement coupled with the Australia-Singapore DEA that the big tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, have got their eyes on. The success of the DEA will have implications as to what can be included in the global WTO agreement.
Dr Ranald outlined that the current WTO negotiations involve less than half of all member nations, because the opening up of their economies to unregulated Big Tech business isn’t so appealing to countries of the Global South that haven’t had a chance to establish their own digital markets yet.
“This kind of deregulated framework advantages existing big tech companies globally. It is their agenda. They want to be able to expand their trade,” Dr Ranald made clear.
“From a developing country’s point of view, they might want to have more regulatory frameworks – including local storage of data – in order to develop their own digital industries.”
Janus in the chamber
Of course, when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to make a solid assumption as to how it will pan out is about as reliable as the guarantees the federal government can make in relation to our privacy.
The Morrison government is supposedly turning to the app based on the success of Singapore’s pandemic approach. However, since that initial decision, that nation has become the coronavirus basket case of Southeast Asia, as local authorities neglected to support and help migrant workers.
The public scepticism in relation to the app seems to point to fears that the government either wants to collect our data for its own purposes, or it won’t be able to control who gets their hands on it, once the information is in its possession.
Aside from the inconsistencies in the government’s stance regarding the COVIDSafe app on the one hand, and the Singapore DEA on the other, Dr Ranald also points to the findings of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) digital platforms report released last June.
“The ACCC report said we need more regulation of these big companies, not less,” Dr Ranald said.
“The commission was concerned about a whole slew of issues to do with the domination of Big Tech, problems with data privacy, data abuse and anti-competitive practices.”
As the so-called Coronavirus infection rate markedly declines across Australia only half the required number of phone users have downloaded the much-heralded tracing app which is supposed to prevent more infections by using Bluetooth.
The only conclusion is that there are lots of fairies in the garden surrounding Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.
So far 5.1 million apps have been downloaded from a necessary 10 million out of a population of 25 million to make it effective.
It is doubtful any more significant numbers of downloads will add to the tally. There is always an exception to the distrustful sentiment of the public and that is a majority of dim-witted politicians who have stuck the app into their smartphones.
There is now no doubt they believe their own rhetoric.
Some notable politicians have refused to load it. Nationals Barnaby Joyce and independents Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie have been around government far too long to trust intelligence agencies with their personal information.
IT experts have warned that the app data stored in Amazon data banks is open to scrutiny by US intelligence such as the NSA which can legally access data no matter where it is stored anywhere in the world and that Amazon data banks are known to “leak like a rusty rainwater tank.”
Don’t forget the ‘Five Eyes” intelligence alliance of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States which share all information.
Interestingly the Greens, with the exception of their intellectual pigmy Sarah Hanson-Young have refused to load the app along with One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.
The take up rate has dwindled in line with the virus after a number of international virologists and biologists revealed the virus testing regime is almost useless hence inaccurate by showing false positives and false negatives.
In a similar scenario to AIDS testing which every doctor knows is wildly inaccurate, Virologist Dr Andrew Kaufman has exposed the flawed testing kits in his published video on Cairnsnews.
Another virologist Dr Judy Mikovits also exposes the testing flaws and she is backed up by the US Centre for Disease Control whose disclaimer on their test kits warns the test can pick up any infection, bacteria or cold and indicate it is Covid 19.
Hence the published high recovery rate of patients who most likely did not have one of the 36 sub-strains of Covid 19 in the first place.
So much for flattening the medical profession’s ‘J’ Curve.
Disclaimer: The download number of 5.1 million is published by government sources. It may or may not be correct.