Developers have already started analysing COVIDSafe — call on government to release the source code

April 26, 2020 / Media Releases / By OPTF

Australia’s tech community has already started analysing the inner workings of COVIDSafe, but making the app open-source is a critical step to winning their trust and support. Simon Harman, CEO and chairperson of the Loki Foundation — Australia’s first dedicated privacy tech not-for-profit — once again urges the government to improve its communication and release the app’s source code. 

Quotes attributable to Simon Harman, chairperson of privacy tech not-for-profit the Loki Foundation: 

“The government has once again failed to properly communicate information about its contact tracing app. COVIDSafe’s launch wasn’t perfect: the rollout was confusing, functionality will suffer without access to Google and Apple’s upcoming APIs, and the source code is still nowhere to be seen. 

“The government has made it possible for developers to take the app apart and have a look at what’s inside. This is a good start, and experts like Geoffrey Huntley, Vanessa Teague, and Matthew Robbins have already begun analysing the app.

“If the government wants the full trust of the tech community, they need to release COVIDSafe’s source code. There’s no way around that. Mr Hunt has said the source code will be released soon — I say the sooner the better. 

“Trust is critical to adoption, and so far there have been some significant missteps, but things seem to be heading in the right direction. 

“The privacy policy is quite robust. The source code will be released. Once Google and Apple make their contributions, COVIDSafe should improve a lot. The elements for success are there. 

“The government has promised that information will only be shared with health services, but if there is even a single case of overreach, COVIDSafe will fail. 

Mr Harman is available for further comment at request.

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