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A layperson’s guide to lying

An app for the purpose of finding and identifying those who are close to a virus carrier is an invention of significance.

It deserves the co-operation of every citizen with a device able to accommodate it. So why all the negativity? Despite every possible assurance by the government, why do so many say they won’t download it?

Well, take your choice:

A. The government and its ministers cannot be trusted.

B. The Prime Minister is a liar and cannot be trusted.

C. The government has lied so much that you wouldn’t believe a word they say.

D. They have stuffed around with matters relating to people’s privacy that you wouldn’t trust them as far as you could collectively throw them.

E. People wouldn’t have a bar of anything Stuart Robert was involved with.

F. The data will be housed in another country.

Truthfully, any of the aforementioned points would be justifiable in making your decision. And it’s such a pity given the app’s unique ability to save lives and end the crisis.

Although I have some misgivings about the government handling of the coronavirus emergency they have, thanks to an acceptance of the science, performed admirably.

Consequently they have received praise for their efforts proving in the process that doing good has its rewards.

Improving the common good post COVID-19 is another matter.

Lies that are told when an internal conscience tells the liar that he/she are wrong is the last act of self-defiance.

We should question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it.

The lies so frequently being told by this government are worse than the normal ones couched in innumerable shades of grey.

The lies being told by Morrison, Dutton, Hunt, Taylor and others are so repetitive, so blatant, and so desperate that they could only come from men of self guilt and deliberate intent.

The Prime Minister sets the example for the ministry to follow. It’s when he is being questioned under stress that his lying is most blatant.

These are scared politicians who have become so immersed in untruth that they have forgotten the truth that sincerity and transparency brings with it. It’s called ‘being honest.’

The Prime Minister continues to say that we will reach our Paris targets in a canter. He does so in the knowledge that it is untrue.

His own department tells him we cannot but he so desperately wants everyone to believe him that he is prepared to toss his faith out the window and lie to us.

Only a very desperate person would stoop so low. Morrison is one such person.

If we are to restore trust in our democracy then the first thing we must do is insist that our politicians should at least tell the truth.

In September 2017 in a piece for The AIMN I wrote:

“How important is truth in politics? As a writer who happens to love the way words can be constructed to shape a thought, send a message, express love, anger, or convey an action I am lost without them.

Without them something vanishes from our discourse. Without words the ability to communicate the seemingly endless aspects of human emotion is taken from us.”

Words of course are at their best when they are accompanied by a factual truth of what they want to convey.

Tony Abbott is the greatest liar ever to have soiled the plush carpets of Parliament House.

Malcolm Turnbull, by walking away from what he believed in, is the greatest hypocrite.

Scott Morrison by with his lying has betrayed his faith.

The government’s words and actions bring into question the very essence of the word truth. Or they have at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence.

If more people had the capacity to think for themselves and question what they are being told perhaps we would have more genuineness in politics.

If more journalists had the intestinal fortitude to question and syphon out the truth of what politicians are telling them we may get a better body politic. A more honest democracy.

In July 2016 in Dr. George Venturini’s outstanding series, The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment, he wrote:

“The State lives on fear. Today, it is the fear of ‘terrorists’, which is a manufactured threat, meant to scare people into handing over their rights and dignity to the tricksters in power. “Our twentieth century is the century of fear,” wrote Camus in his article ‘The century of fear’ for Combat, the newspaper that had supported the French Resistance to Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Camus said that fear could be regarded as a developed science.”

The next time you hear or see an interview with an LNP politician consider these methods they use to counter questions or even avoid them:

  • Keep talking. The more you talk the fewer the questions.
  • Questioning the question or attack it.
  • The question is offensive
  • Attacking an external group. (The opposition or rival groups). Blame Labor.
  • Starting an answer but not finishing it (interrupting yourself)
  • Saying or implying that the question has already been answered.

The purpose of propaganda is to make you feel good about the wrongs being perpetrated on you.

Lying, misinformation, lying by omission, subliminally implied suggestion, straightforward propaganda, deliberate scare campaigning and any form of untruthful communication has become the norm in the way politicians and the media converse with the public. So normal and long applied has this form of conversation become that we are now unquestioning of it.

Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s well-being for the sake of it.

Four months ago Morrison argued that there wasn’t any evidence that connected the bush fires with Climate Change. When he said that reducing Australia’s emissions would do nothing, he told another lie:

“But I think to suggest that at just 1.3% of emissions, that Australia doing something more or less would change the fire outcome this season – I don’t think that stands up to any credible scientific evidence at all.”

It is well known that those countries with the equivalent emissions or under Australia’s make up for a third of the total problem.

Grant Turner, writing for Independent Australia about the Sports Rorts said:

“LOOKING BACK through Australian political history, I’ve tried to find a more blatant example of a Prime Minister knowingly looking down a camera lens and flat-out lying to the Australian people as Prime Minister Scott Morrison did when he said in relation to the sports rorts grants program that all projects funded were eligible and that his office had no input into which projects received grants.”

When addressing the United Nations in September of last year the Prime Minister said, “plastic pollution in the oceans is a more immediate threat than climate change.” This simply isn’t true and you don’t need to be a scientist to know so.

His holiday in Hawaii was yet another unnecessary lie as was the lie about Paster Houston being invited to the White House.

Another time when being questioned about the phrase “Shanghai Sam” in connection with Gladys Liu’s potential links to China’s central government as being racist. He denied it, where as in fact he had used the phrase 17 times. He then claimed he misheard the question.

We can go back to the time when he was immigration minister and at the height of Abbott’s “stop the boats” propaganda he invents the phrase “on water matters” and under these words refused to answer the simplest questions.

Scott Morrison displays an annoyance, an almost paranoid dislike of answering questions. He finds it anything but comfortable.

It’s not that he is born of incompetence but rather petulance. Like it’s beneath him. The longer an interview goes the more seething is his demeanour.

Of course he, as Prime Minister has to front up but you can tell he doesn’t like it. That he should be questioned at all he finds contemptible.

It has never been as easy as it is now to get away with lying in politics.

My thought for the day

Do you shape the truth for the sake of good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down the view people may have of you?

Alternatively, do you simply use the contrivance of omission and create another lie. I can only conclude that there is sometimes pain in truth but there is no harm in it.

 

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26 comments

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  1. Andy Salway

    Very important for all of humanity to remind ourselves of events in the past and finally learn from it. If we don’t we are doomed to repeat them ad infinitum. Lest we forget.

  2. george theodoridis

    Hegel said, (among other things) that “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.”

    And I remember writing in one of my Uni essays my own maxim: “History is a whore. S/he goes where the money and the power go.”

    Your usual good, perspicacious writing, John. Many thanks

  3. Matters Not

    Perhaps ‘truth’ telling might be more problematic than most assume. Might be in the same category as ‘reality’.

    If anyone doubts the difficulty of establishing “reality”, just take the example of the recent
    George Pell trials. Although evidence was presented, ultimately it is the human judgement, often in contradiction with each other, that enables us to come to a decision on what we believe to be the “truth”. The question is, how can an imperfect human mind come up with truths or reality except in a relative sense?

    Indeed an imperfect human mind arriving at ‘perfect’ anything(s) seems a bit much. Guess we’re stuck with ‘relative’ truth? But we should be able to live with that. And, of course, we do. All the time.

    Even science itself is as good as the next new theory that throws out the existing one. No good scientist will ever tell you that they have the absolute truth. … Ultimately, does the “truth” lie with God? In answering this question, we have to take a huge leap of faith to believe the “truth” that God exists

    Good questions for a (religious) Sunday morning.
    http://www.ianmcauley.com/matilda/comments1804.pdf

  4. leefe

    ScoMoFo is an ad man who went into politics, which means lying is his default setting. Actually telling the truth would probably cause a major brain malfunction.

    As for the federal misgovernment, they aren’t the ones doing the good job – most of that can be laid at the door of the state premiers and chief ministers.

  5. Harry Lime

    For all of the Liar’s talk about “snapback”,”bounceback””the other side”,etc and the idea he’s signalling about resuming normal transmission,strongly suggests he has lost any grip on reality that he might have had.It’s difficult to envisage anything other than huge upheaval.Change will be forced upon him ,and everybody else,ramped up lies notwithstanding.
    How did we get to this point? Not enough people care,and they are easily misled,thanks Rupert.
    John, I think that Morrison is a far more calculating liar than the Mad Monk.

  6. Ian Hughes

    My choice:

    G. All of the above!!

  7. whatever

    Scotty is not an “Ad Man who went into politics”. (I don’t know why people seem to assume being an “Ad Man” is a worthy calling, have you seen the pathetic, scamming TV ads we are constantly subjected to?) He was just a Liberal Party admin shitkicker who “scored a gig” with the Tourism Commission. The ad campaign he was involved with was a disaster, it involved filming a teenage girl jiggling her tits. A lot of overseas TV networks refused to carry it, possibly because of the strange, post-pubescent fantasy world it invoked, more or less a celebration of Sexual Assault on the beach.

  8. Kathryn

    Sadly under the lying, conniving, morally bankrupt lack of leadership of this fascist LNP regime, there should have been a 7th option in the choices provided above, ie (G) All of the above!

    The LNP have proven themselves to be pathological, persistent and unspeakably depraved liars over decades. Yes, Abbott was the Mother and Father of All Liars but he took his cue from the deceptive, malignant little war criminal, John Howard who is unable to tell the truth if his miserable life depended upon it! Under Howard’s deleterious prime ministership, truth, honesty and integrity rapidly went overboard like the fictitious asylum seeker child that Howard conveniently concocted in relation to the insidious, malevolent Tampa affair – refer link below to learn just how relentlessly dishonest Howard really is and whilst reading it, remember that it is Howard the LNP hold up as a hero of their ultra-right-wing ideology – no wonder they are so incurably toxic!

    Is it any wonder NO ONE with an IQ >9 would EVER entrust the sanctity of our privacy in the hands of such a ruthless, totally corrupt and toxic regime who have a long, long history of lying, breaking every promise ever made, cheating, rorting and fraudulently misappropriating hard-earned taxpayer funds to satisfy their own insatiable lust for absolute dictatorial power and to increase the obscene wealth of themselves and their multi-millionaire donors in the Top 1% and BIG business!

    The bottom line is this: could ANYONE trust a callously inhumane psychopath like Peter Dutton not to breach our trust with a TRACER on our mobile phones? Just IMAGINE what a sociopath like Dutton could do to extend his mania for absolute control and obsession for autocratic power, with a mobile tracking tool at his disposal? This tracking tool in the wrong hands – and there can be no doubt that you just couldn’t do worse than such a device being in the grasping hands of Morrison/Dutton – would be a terrifying tool that, in the end, would be used against us. Why? Because a leopard doesn’t change its spots and the most reliable way to judge how a person will behave in the future, is to take a long, long look at how they have behaved in the recent past – and in the case of just about every member of the totally corrupt, deceptive and self-serving power-brokers in the LNP, that should provide us all with a justifiable, apprehensive foreboding!

    https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:%22library/partypol/EZID6%22

  9. Bronte D G ALLAN

    Well said, as usual, Mr Lord! This lying, incompetent, flat earth, climate change denying, happy clapping so-called religious “believers” (?),right wing conservative mob of so-called “parliamentarians” in this stupid fucking COALition rabble should NEVER have gotten into power EVER!! How any one could trust any of them, “ably”(?) led by the failed advertising person SloMo, is beyond me. He could not tell the truth if it hit him in the face, he only knows how to tell lies & un-truths & fake news. BASTARDS the lot of them!

  10. Josephus

    Remember the ID card attempt. Think of China, whose citizens carry a card that marks them with degrees of reliability, upon which their children do or do not qualify for university entrance for example. Now China is the enemy, not our major trading partner? Oceania one day, Westasia or Eastasia the next.

    Also, that app may or may not be fine for city dwellers, but for rural dwellers it is pointless; easy to cross the dirt road. Either way, we need the Human Rights lawyers to check.

    Where is our Bill of Rights? They won’t even consider a Treaty after over two centuries of humiliation and racism.

    Seems that the USA would be decrypting and storing our data, then, as well as having potential control over our oil stores? With the possibility of that madman being re-elected? with gun toting mobs demanding freedom to circulate , egged on by Trump and businesses? Tempted to say go ahead, weed out the nutters…

    Perhaps don’t give your DNA to an American company either, just to find out about your possible ancestry.

  11. Uta Hannemann

    Somebody said that this is perspicacious writing. I could not agree more!

  12. Richard Knowles

    Morrison’s problem – like some ad people – is his overwhelming belief in his ability to sell a story however stupid the story. He forgets to remind himself that some people have intelligence, that they can scrutinise what is being told in the context of the past and in the context of character of the messenger. Or is it the case – a common marketing technique – you repeat something it must therefore be true.

  13. Aortic

    ” I cannot tell a lie” George Washington

    ” I cannot tell the truth.” Scott Morrison

    ” We cannot tell the difference.” Lib/Nat voters.

  14. Phil

    This government makes ‘ Bullshit a Science ‘

    The end.

  15. New Bruce

    Thank you Mr Lord.

    G. All of the above.

    The slimy little rat j howard was worse than the mad monk could ever dream of being.

    @GT. I like that. Very true.

    @Aortic. The lnp voters. “We do not care about the difference as long as labor don’t get into government””

  16. Kerri

    I am waiting for Scottyfrommarketing to tell us to inject disinfectant!

  17. DrakeN

    That last, New Bruce, was the raison d’etre for the creation of the Liberal Party – to keep organised labour, and subsequently Labor from adversely affecting the squatocracy’s et al domination of the Nation.
    A process of keeping the “rabble” in their place.

  18. New England Cocky

    Now JL you have made the evaluation of statements by politicians far too complex.

    The one true test is, “Are their lips moving then they are probably lying”!!

  19. Michael Brennan

    As an advocate for improved telecommunications in our community, I’ve had close dealings with NBN Co, which is a Government Business Enterprise. The NBN’s statement of expectations are written by ministers and the shareholders are ministers.

    NBN version 2, is the love child of Abbott and Turnbull and has been “fostered” by Morrison.
    In regard to their relationship with the public, the NBN speak with forked tongue.

    They invent extremely complicated definitions of service standards to disguise the poor performance of the network.

    Their bookkeeping is at times puzzling.

    They pull figures from the ether regarding the cost of labour’s version of the NBN and claim them as fact.

    Boardroom minutes are exempt from FOI and reasonable requests for information under FOI are very rarely successful, with nbn usually claiming a defence of commercial in confidence.

    In a public hearing under cross examination, an nbn employee acting as expert witness, simply said he could not provide an opinion on the subject to which he was educated, qualified and experienced.

    NBN created a taskforce, NBN local, to help communities, but they actually attempt to dissuade and
    dis-incentivise communities from exploring upgrade paths.

    On three occasions nbn refused to provide senate enquires with data of lowest cost fibre optic installations, yet previously, nbn had unsolicited promulgated worst case costings to the media.

    The list goes on.

    It is very disturbing that such deceit and obfuscation is generated by both senior and middle management and exists through most departments of the organisation who deal with the public.

    It is a distressing example of the worst aspects of political culture being adopted and dare I say, infecting a workforce.

    The NBN aquaplanes out of control, over budget, under performing and behind schedule, on the spittle of lies from its masters.

  20. John Lord

    Thanks George. That was one l didn’t know.

  21. Jon Chesterson

    Okay, I concur with all this but I draw the line on the following points:

    ‘Although I have some misgivings about the government handling of the coronavirus emergency they have, thanks to an acceptance of the science, performed admirably’. What science?

    No they assuredly haven’t! The Federal government and Morrison were terribly slow to close our borders to the US and Europe, only acted promptly on China, after which we now know was clearly a big mistake. In fact Dutton was missing in action even before he got the virus. They were a right up the Khyber with the Cruise ships, dozens of them, not just the Ruby Princess, all throughout February and March. These cruise ships should have been shut down. Holiday makers were still boarding these incubators in March long after the Diamond Princess debacle in Japan. Okay so Morrison wasn’t in Hawaii this time, but what about the bushfire crisis conveniently forgotten already. Instead he and Josh have been triumphantly in our faces every day in almost every news cycle pretending to steer HMAS Australia. The reality here is they have used this as a platform to practically dissolve Parliament (this didn’t even happen in the great wars, nor the Spanish Flu); govern by executive decree rather than due process and legislative review; announce a host of golden measures on the run and taken the credit for them when half will never see the light of day or be implemented secretly without evaluation; tighten national security, policing, draconian restrictions (not that I disagree with some of the imperatives here) and surveillance almost without question; and have totally abandoned the neoliberal and Liberal doctrine, which clearly hadn’t been working pre-Covid outbreak, and despite which they continue to insult our intelligence by flagging a ‘snap back’ to the old ways of corruption and black Liberal Ideology when and if this is all over. And now they are running us through with their nth Trojan Horse, another great lie and deception, COVIDSAFE which it is anything but, on a scientific, political interventionist or civil rights level. On this one I could recount a whole heap of ill-conceived, half baked lies and lunacy – It simply doesn’t stack up. What failed with Robodebt, My Health Record and our last National Census is now sitting on over a million Australian’s mobile phones, like having sex with your government in the middle of an Aids epidemic without protection. Has Morrison included the Opposition on the national executive or are we now being run by an appointed corporation? Excuse me for acknowledging inclusion of the premiers, but like Trump and State governors, he doesn’t actually call all the shots, though you could be forgiven for thinking so with his patronising daily diatribe and Covid smile.

    ‘…And it’s such a pity given the app’s unique ability to save lives and end the crisis’. There is no evidence for this presumption.

    How does an APP save lives? It doesn’t stop you getting infected (abuse of language by inference), it doesn’t even tell if you are infected after a proximity encounter, but it gives an apponted corporation or government agency power over you to order you home, when in most cases you are are likely unaffected. No checks and balances, no evidence. It arguably hasn’t worked in Singapore, as we now can plainly see, but I suspect the push is to get it signed onto before everyone realises this – the political imperative for a social bad idea. Did it work in Taiwan? We simply don’t know this was a significant variable among many and is it worth trading all those years of civil liberty, privacy and democracy? It has none of the de-centralised codings and safeguards that Germany have embedded. I think we are all a bunch of idiots running around like headless sheep trusting the COVIDSAFE APP, this government, the buffoon chief medical officers and ministers in Federal and NSW governments, Morrison and Dutton et al, if we truly think these two governments have even come close to serving us in the interests of the public good at all.

    Question is what is there to compare this performance to and is it their performance that has landed Australia where we are on Covid-19? I suspect there are far more compelling reasons for our fortunate position on the global ruler. What if Labor had been managing this, even if we were to consider the economic question alone, to which they performed superbly in our last economic crisis when most countries suffered calamitously, especially USA who are still traveling calamitously now, and I think we all know why? Haven’t the Liberals plagiarised that one this time. I think we would have done far better and genuinely under Labor, but the way Morrison is playing his cards, is purely for his own egoistical, political and electoral supremacy. He has not an ounce of decency, trust, transparency, honesty, humility, morality, ethics or leadership in his brainless biblical swineherd head.

    No Morrison does not deserve any credit, not for one second. Don’t give him the pleasure, it would be disingenuous even for that small concession – He will stretch it and milk it a mile high!

  22. Matters Not

    Good government, in theory, depends of checks and balances between and among the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. In Australia, we are already handicapped because the legislative arm overlaps significantly with the executive. Thus we have Ministers who write legislation, who then vote on its adoption and then become responsible for its implementation and administration. Worse, there is the increasing trend for Ministers to be also responsible for ‘appeals’ – keeping the judicial as far removed as possible .

    Note, in particular, Minister Hunt now boasting that the foreshadowed legislation enabling this this tracking app for COVID-19 won’t allow for judicial intervention. How that will be achieved will be a feat in itself.
    Where will Drefus sit? Methinks that basic understanding(s) of democracy are sadly lacking.

  23. David Bruce

    Nice work, John

    Here is another reason for no APP?

    Australia’s coronavirus tracing app’s data storage contract goes offshore to Amazon
    ABC Investigations
    By Linton Besser and Dylan Welch

    Government insiders and technology industry players have raised alarms about the Federal Government’s new COVID-19 tracing app, after a contract for its data storage went offshore to US retail and technology giant Amazon.
    Key points:

    The Federal Government says the app will help trace the coronavirus spread in Australia
    Concerns are raised that Australians' data will be hosted US by tech giant Amazon
    Data held by US-registered companies can be accessed by US law enforcement

    Bureaucrats inside the Government’s Digital Transformation Agency voiced concerns about the awarding of the contract to an overseas provider when several wholly Australian-owned cloud storage services had been security vetted for precisely such high-level contracts.

    The ABC has also confirmed the tender was a limited, invitation-only opportunity initially run by the Department of Home Affairs, which is principally responsible for border protection and national security.

    Issuing the contract to Amazon may also mean the Australian data is obtainable by US law enforcement under a 2018 law that allows them to obtain information held by US-registered data companies no matter where in the world that information is held.

    However, today the Prime Minister and a spokesman for Government Services Minister Stuart Robert rejected suggestions the US law would apply to the tracing app data.
    Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap.

    Amazon, incorporated in Seattle, is one of the world’s largest companies.

    Last year it reported earnings of more than $270 billion.

    Home Affairs declined to answer specific questions about the tender process.

    A spokesman for the department said: “The department’s role in the development of a contact tracing capability has been one of support to enable access to the capacity of staff with relevant technical and delivery skills to progress this work on behalf of the Department of Health and the Digital Transformation Agency.”

    Responsibility for the tracing app has since been moved to the Digital Transformation Agency, which comes within the portfolio of Government Services Minister Stuart Robert.

    A spokesman for Mr Robert said the Minister had confidence in the management of the tracing app data, which he said was a “contact” app and still in development.

    "Uploaded contact information will be stored in Australia in highly secure servers and protected by additional laws to restrict access to health professionals only," he said.

    Asked for Mr Robert’s view of the decision of Home Affairs to run a limited, invitation-only tender, his spokesman said: “We cannot comment on a procurement process led by another department.”
    Coronavirus questions answered
    Coronavirus questions answered
    Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC’s Coronacast podcast.

    ABC News can also reveal the Government has plans to store the decryption keys for the data in the same cloud as the data itself — a practice frowned upon within the industry for such a sensitive cache of public information.

    Mr Robert’s spokesman said the practice was acceptable.

    “Database keys will be managed through Amazon Web Services’ Key Management System (KMS), a widely used security service that has been previously assessed by the ACSC,” the spokesman said.

    ACSC refers to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, part of the Australian Signals Directorate, the country’s electronic spy agency which is responsible for government cyber security.
    How the tracing app works
    An app on a mobile phone screen
    Photo: Data collected by the Federal Government’s proposed coronavirus app will be held in Australia by US company Amazon, if you test positive to the virus. (ABC News: Michael Clements)

    The app is designed to help identify with whom a COVID-19 positive person has met while infected, speeding up the contact tracing process.

    Relying on Bluetooth technology, the app will identify other phones using the app that have been within a 1.5 metre range for at least 15 minutes.

    The app logs and encrypts that contact on the phone. Later, if a person using the app tests positive to COVID-19, they would be asked to download their encrypted contact log and send it to the Government, which will store it in the Amazon cloud.

    State and territory health authorities will then be able to access the cloud, decrypt the data and contact those who were in close proximity to the COVID-positive person.
    What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

    The coronavirus crisis has revealed what should have been plainly obvious: China and the West have been on a collision course.
    New Zealand opted for a complete lockdown to eliminate coronavirus. Australia went for a more relaxed suppression strategy. But the two countries' results have been roughly the same.

    The tracing app has been sold by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as an important part of easing restrictions in Australia, but it has also been met with concerns regarding how information will be used and stored.

    The revelation that this information is to be held by Amazon’s cloud service — Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s largest cloud service, which operates under US law — may spark further concern.

    AWS is subject to a raft of invasive US national security legislation, including the CLOUD Act, a 2018 law compelling US-based technology companies to provide data to federal law enforcement under warrant, regardless of whether the data is held in the US or overseas.

    However, a spokesman for Mr Robert said the US CLOUD Act did not apply to Australian data.

    “Keeping Australian data in Australia will be guaranteed through a determination through the Biosecurity Act and legislation,” he said.

    “It will be a criminal offence to transfer data to any country other than Australia. A penalty of imprisonment for five years and/or 300 penalty units ($63,000) could apply to breaches of the direction.

    “This is exactly the same way the Australian Government already uses AWS for many other agencies, including the work of our intelligence agencies, including ASD, and ensures Australian data stays in Australia.”

    The Prime Minister said in a press conference today that only health workers undertaking contact tracing would legally be able to access the personal information in the app.

    “The server is in Australia and it’s using AWS, who work with Australia on many, many sensitive issues,” he said.

    “It’s a nationally encrypted data store.

    “It is illegal — it will be illegal for information to go out of that data store to any other person other than that for whom the whole thing is designed.”
    Australian providers overlooked

    Among those raising concerns about the Amazon deal is cyber security not-for-profit, AustCyber.
    A family checking their mobile phones at an airport, both parents wear face masks.
    Photo: The app will track details of people you have come into contact with, not your GPS location. (AP: Michael Dwyer)

    AustCyber’s chief executive, Michelle Price, said the exclusion of Australian-owned providers for the service was disappointing.

    “I don’t know why they were not alerted to it,” Ms Price said.

    "It's a bit unfortunate that local providers who have worked hard and attained accreditation to provide security in the cloud to government were not able to be a part of this."

    Among the local providers who were overlooked for the contract are AUCloud, Macquarie Telecom, Sliced Tech and Vault.

    The Government has previously security vetted two giant US corporations to provide secure cloud storage — Microsoft and Amazon.
    Do you know more?

    Please use this form to get in contact with the ABC Investigations team, or if you require more secure communication, please choose an option on the confidential tips page
    Text message Dylan Welch using the Signal app on +61 427 429 694

    No system is 100 per cent secure, but the Signal app can be used to protect your identity by using end-to-end encryption. Please read the terms and conditions of the app to work out if it is the best method of communication for you.

    Since September 2013, the Commonwealth Government has published contracts with AWS worth more than $116 million.

    The departments of health, defence and agriculture have all issued cloud storage contracts to AWS, as has the Australian Signals Directorate.

    In June last year the Digital Transformation Agency published details of a $55 million contract with AWS for a “whole of government agreement” which runs until April 2022.
    What you need to know about coronavirus:

    The symptoms
    How to self-isolate
    When to wear a face mask
    The number of cases in Australia

    Ms Price said she and others had also advised the Government that its current plan — to store the encryption keys in the same cloud as the data itself — posed an unnecessary security risk.

    “The other thing we can do as best practice is to ensure, because the data is appropriately going to be encrypted, the encryption keys are held separately to the database,” she said.

    She hoped the Government would change tack.

    “It’s my understanding that off the back of us and others asking the question about whether the keys will be stored in the same cloud, and pointed it out that best standard is to hold them separately, that’s being actively worked on,” she said.

    “And it’s my recommendation those keys be held in a sovereign cloud.”

    Asked whether she would still use the app even if the keys are not separated, Ms Price said: “In this instance, yes I would because it’s about saving lives and getting Australians back in the classroom and back to work.

    “In a different context I would think twice about it.”

    EDITOR’S NOTE: April 26, 2020: This article has been changed to reflect that fact that the COVID-19 tracing app will not record people’s movements, only their contact with other people also using the app.

  24. Noel

    This “app” has turned up at an opportune time. How long has it been on the drawing boards?
    And I also vote (g) All of the above.

  25. Bruce White

    Do I detect a note of cynicism from you,John Lord, about the coalition government.😆😁🤣.
    I think that I would say re lack of trust, I would agree with all of the above ie, A,B,C,D,E and F.
    My thought is that Morrison and the coalition lost their last modicum of public trust at the time of last years 2019 federal election. They are continuing to display their total lack of policy ability.
    Their incompetence continues to stun.
    You’ve summarised the situation well, as well as George Venturini.
    I was surprised that Albert Camus was so politically insightful.
    I’m ranking him in the same league as George Orwell.
    Orwell (Eric Blair) wrote ‘Down and Out in Paris and London) in the 1930’s.
    If you haven’t read it already, I’d recommend it. It has some great laughs in it.
    Rather autobiographical I would think.

  26. Bruce White

    Matters Not . Yes there is no absolute truth, I agree with you there.
    Even Einstein only espoused a theory which was relative.
    It was relative to the frame of reference which embodied it.
    That, you could call The Universe,or more recently fashionable, The Multiverse.

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