Call me paranoid, but why is the State Government still encouraging Queenslanders to use the Check In Qld app when it appears they are all but done with using it themselves?
The latest news indicates the popularity of the Check In Qld app is waning, with The Sunday Mail this week reporting a significant drop-off in user numbers. And can you blame us? Contact tracing in the face of thousands of daily cases is absolutely futile and the State Government has all but given up publishing exposure sites. In fact, since 31 December 2021, the state will only notify of major outbreak venues or super-spreader events in Queensland.
So why is the Government still insisting we check in and use the app as proof of our vaccination status? (Even though we know you can demonstrate your vaccination status without having to check-in). Why is this even necessary for venues that don’t even require mandatory vaccination, such as grocery stores and supermarkets?
I suppose I am coming at this issue as more of a privacy advocate than a lawyer. After all, it is still the law in Queensland that citizens and visitors use the Check In Qld app.
When contact tracing was enabled in the early stages of the pandemic, fair enough. I can only speak for myself, but I also got a general sense that Queenslanders were more than prepared to do what was necessary to keep our communities safe. We downloaded the app and handed over our private information in good faith and for the greater good.
Now that it is clear the information serves no benefit to the health and safety of others, the Government is unfairly imposing on our individual and collective right to privacy by continuing to expect the app be used.
Recently, south-east Queensland mayors called for the Check In Qld check-ins to end, however that appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
No one is more in touch with grassroots business than local government. They see and hear from the frontline what an imposition the check-in process is on businesses and their employees – monitoring and checking if people have checked-in, checking customer vaccination statuses, dealing with uncooperative patrons who refuse to leave a venue when asked or they leave and vow to never return again. As if enduring a pandemic wasn’t bad enough.
But requiring Queenslanders to let Big Brother know where we are and when we are there seems to be overreaching in the current climate and abrogates ‘the vibe’ that we have some right to privacy despite living in digital times.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, but if the data is no longer serving its original purpose of keeping others in the community safe, then a Government that continues to collect its constituents’ locational data is asking the historical revisionists out there to come up with their own theory as to its purpose and intent.
I’m not encouraging complacency, just some common sense. If we’re not using the data, let’s at least pay lip service to the idea that we have a general right to privacy.
Travis Schultz is the Managing Partner, Travis Schultz & Partners.