Analysis

No Conspiracies Or Excuses Not To Download the careFiji App

Countries are taking steps, but the Fijian Government has been mindful to ensure people’s privacy is not invaded
05 Aug 2020 11:19
No Conspiracies Or Excuses Not To Download the careFiji App

If the Walesi app has been downloaded 400,000 times, there is no reason why people in Fiji cannot download the careFIJI app.

The silly argument that many do not have smartphones does not hold water when it has proven that the Walesi app has garnered that many interest for mobile phone users.

Instead of fuelling unnecessary conspiracy theories that peoples’ privacies are invaded by using the careFIJI app, all Members of Parliament (MPs) should lead the charge and download the app.

In fact, Parliament should make it compulsory for all MPs who enter Parliament complex must have the careFIJI app on their phones.

And, if Fiji is serious about opening its borders to tourists, we should make it mandatory for all Fijians with smartphones to download the app.

This could very easily be enforced through employers who should enforce that those who do not download the app are risking their colleagues’ health and safety.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress which is the law library of the United States Congress, and is the de facto national library of the United States, updated an article by Foreign Law Specialist Jenny Gesley on the law related to such apps in various countries.

She outlined a few interesting findings:

“Most of the surveyed jurisdictions have developed one or several dedicated coronavirus apps with different functionalities, such as general information and advice about COVID-19, symptom checkers, and contact tracing and warning. In order to be effective and provide accurate information, the applications need enough data, meaning enough people need to download the app. Some countries had low download rates, or, as in the case of Norway, only initial high enthusiasm.

“In Argentina, installing the contact tracing app is generally voluntary; however, people who enter the country from abroad and people who return to work are obligated to install it. India’s contact tracing app’s use was considered voluntary when launched in early April, but became mandatory for public- and private-sector employees in early May. This requirement was eased in late May after criticism from privacy and digital rights organisations.

“In China, even though the health code apps that assign different colour codes to people depending on their infection status appear not to have been made compulsory, they are de facto compulsory in many cities as citizens without the code are not able to enter most public places.

HES codes

“In Turkey, travellers whose HES codes on their app indicate that they were diagnosed as positive or have been in contact with a person diagnosed as such are not allowed to use public transportation or airplanes. In Russia, all people identified as having been in contact with an infected individual must install the “Social Monitoring app” or face a fine. Individuals with no cell phone receive special devices with a preinstalled Social Monitoring app.

“Some of the surveyed jurisdictions have also established databases in which the health information of infected persons is logged. South Africa established an interim database in which health care professionals who test a person for COVID-19 must enter the person’s identification and contact information, including cellphone number, for inclusion in the database. The French government has developed two electronic databases, one where all COVID-19 test results are recorded and one to facilitate contact tracing. The data in both systems may only be accessed by medical professionals who are subject to medical confidentiality. In China, the health code apps reportedly rely on a combination of self-reporting by the user, COVID-19 databases set up by government authorities, and data held by other sources, including the public transportation, telecommunications, and banking sectors.”

Electronic wristband

“South Korea has developed an electronic wristband that monitors people’s compliance with self-quarantine; however, it is not mandatory and violators must consent to wearing it. Spain used mobile phone location data to track people’s movements and verify how closely the nationwide lockdown was being observed. Norway used telecommunication data to determine whether people complied with travel restrictions during the month of March 2020; however, no individuals were targeted by that approach. In Russia, QR codes that serve as digital passes were required to use public transportation for the self-isolated population. Taiwan’s “digital fence” monitors the location of those required to undergo home quarantine via their own cellphones or government-issued cellphones, with the goal of preventing their movement.

“In the United Arab Emirates, people who are ordered to quarantine must install an app, which sends alerts to them to stay within the range of movement allowed during the quarantine and provides health authorities with the precise location of these individuals.”

Here in Fiji, if we look at the above-mentioned examples highlighted by Ms Gesley, there are a few worthy comparisons.

Countries are taking steps, but the Fijian Government has been mindful to ensure people’s privacy is not invaded.

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