Friday, May 1st, 2020 - Newsmaker

Members of DAMA Australia, the peak body for the data management industry, have expressed their concerns to the DAMA Australia National Committee, following release of the COVIDSafe app. The app has been downloaded by more than 3 million people to date.

On behalf of the committee, DAMA Australia President David Wiebe said his organisation supports the Government's stated aim to automate contact tracing for COVID19.

“Our members have two concerns, which are shared by many in the IT industry,” Mr Wiebe said. “One is to validate the data collected by the app is consistent with the Australia Government’s stated purpose of contact tracing, and the other is to ensure that personal data is secure and protected from misuse."

DAMA Australia Media Statement

1.  The Government has stated the primary purpose of the app is to assist with the contact tracing process. It is our professional assessment that the data the COVID19 app collects shoud accelerate the contact tracing process, making it more efficient. The speed with which contact can be made with those at risk should increase. The more people use the app, the more efficient this practice to reduce the spread will become, and the less the risk of health authorities becoming overwhelmed by an outbreak.

2. With regards to protecting personal data, the Government has included many security measures, including the use of encryption on the local device, on the cloud, and of the central database. The Government has also insisted on Australian data sovereignty which means your personal data cannot be stored outside Australia or become governed by the laws of another country. These measures are all consistent with best practices in data security.

3. As for the design of the app, the Government has incorporated data governance best practice by enshrining the rights of the “Data Owner” in the app design – which in this case is the person who has installed the app.

If the “Data Owner” is diagnosed with COVID19, then they are asked to provide their permission to share the app data with their local health authority.

If they agree, then their data is uploaded to a central database where local health authorities can access data for their jurisdiction only for the purpose of contract tracing.

Regarding misuse of the data, the Government has committed to legislating to make it illegal to use the app’s data for any other purpose.

4. The app is designed to retain tracing data for a period of no more than 21 days from contact, after which it is automatically deleted.

5. Finally, all data that has been uploaded centrally will also be deleted after the pandemic is declared over.

These data retention policies are consistent with the stated purpose of the application, and are consistent with data governance best practices.


“Although we believe the decision as to whether citizens install the app is a personal choice, we are satisfied, based on the details provided to the public so far, that this app has been designed in a manner consistent with DAMA best practices for data security and sharing,” Mr Wiebe said.

More information about DAMA Australia and a more detailed discussion about our view of this app can be found at:

About DAMA Australia

DAMA (Data Management Association) International is an association of data management professionals in over 50 countries across the globe.

DAMA Australia is Australia’s peak body for Data Management Professionals, and is an affiliated member of DAMA international.

DAMA is a not for profit vendor-independent association.  Our membership includes thousands of individuals, as well as many large private and public organisations. Many of Australia’s largest consulting firms are corporate members of DAMA, and some also sponsor DAMA events.

DAMA’s data management standard (Data Management Book of Knowledge – DMBOK) is widely adopted in government around Australia, and DAMA’s Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) is a sought after accreditation among Australian data practitioners. ##                                                                              

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Members of DAMA Australia, the peak body for the data management industry, have expressed their concerns to the DAMA Australia National Committee, following release of the COVIDSafe app.



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