Joyce won't download government COVID-19 app over 'privacy concerns'

Several Morrison government MPs are refusing to download the app to help track Australians who have been in contact with a COVID-19 case.

Joyce won't download government COVID-19 app over 'privacy concerns'

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert has slapped down Barnaby Joyce for threatening to not download the federal government's COVID-19 tracking app, saying the former deputy prime minister just doesn't understand it.

A number of federal politicians, including Mr Joyce, have cited privacy concerns about the Covid tracker, which will be available in the next couple of weeks, and helps to track down people who may have been in contact with someone with the coronavirus.

"I treasure the government knowing as little about me as possible," Mr Joyce told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Australia is doing an extraordinary job of flattening the curve by reason that we are overwhelmingly decent and logical people. We don't need an app to tell us that."

Mr Robert said he is not sure everyone fully understands the app, including the Nationals MP.

"Look Barnaby, no one wants to know where you've gone, pal, we are not interested. And plus the app doesn't do geolocation," the minister told 2GB/4BC radio on Sunday.

"I'm not interested in where you are on the face of the earth."

He explained the Bluetooth connecting app aims to digitise the present manual process and collects four things - name, mobile number, age and postcode.

"If you're within one and a half metres of someone else with the app for more than 15 minutes, both of those apps swap mobile numbers or details," Mr Robert said.

"Then, if you confirm positive for the virus, that information goes to a secure national data store, then straight to state health authorities and then they can call people you've been in contact with, or, they can call you if you've been in contact with someone."

Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud said he would sign up to the app because it would allow authorities to trace the spread of coronavirus faster and potentially save lives.

"I respect my colleague's decision not to download that app, but this isn't a point of confrontation. Just calm your jets," Mr Littleproud told media in Brisbane.

Labor's health spokesman Chris Bowen also said he is inclined to download the app to support its aims.

"Australians have shown they are willing and able to do what is necessary to defeat COVID-19," he told reporters in Sydney

"But whether you are an MP, an ordinary Australian, any Australian, you are entitled toknow more before being asked to download it."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday took to social media to hose down concerns the app would be mandatory, saying government would be seeking the "co-operation and support" of Australians to download the app to help health workers, protect the community and help get the economy going again.

"The app we are working on to help our health workers trace people who have been in contact with the coronavirus will not be mandatory," Mr Morrison tweeted.

https://twitter.com/ScottMorrisonMP/status/1251304490952605696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

News Corp has also reported he has sent an email to MPs, saying privacy issues are being "carefully addressed", but saying it's an important tool to help Australia return to normal.

"...we need to get people signing up. We all have a role to play here," he wrote.

Mr Morrison has said the nation needs to have a broader testing regime, better contact tracing and greater capacity to respond to local outbreaks before governments can look at easing restrictions.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said a 40 per cent take-up of the app "is a goal".

"But anything which adds to our tracing capability, adds to our ability to protect those who might have been inadvertently infected," he told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the and set notifications to on at the or

You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the and the .

Source : 9 News More   

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'We just want him back': Family plead for answers over missing son

A man who went missing at Victoria's Mornington Peninsula last year is now believed to have encountered "foul play", with his family stressing they want to find him whether he's dead or alive.

'We just want him back': Family plead for answers over missing son

A man who went missing at Victoria's Mornington Peninsula last year is now believed to have encountered "foul play", with his family stressing they want to find him whether he's dead or alive.

Safety Beach man Jacob Horton, 28, was last seen leaving a home at Drum Close in Frankston on June 27, 2019.

Victoria Police Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said he didn't have a car or phone with him at the time.

But he is believed to have left the property with someone else in a car bound for Rosebud, before coming into trouble.

"Our strong belief is that unfortunately Jacob met with foul play on that night," Det Insp Stamper told reporters on Sunday.

Mr Horton had been involved in the local drug scene and low-level crime, and was often couch-surfing in the lead up his death.

Police are urging anyone with information on his disappearance to come forward, but particularly want to speak with others in the drug scene.

"It's a very difficult and complex area of the community to get into, when you start talking about people who are involved in drugs and crime. Clearly, police aren't their...favourite port of call," Det Insp Stamper said.

"CrimeStoppers is an avenue that you can utilise, you don't need to leave your name or address."

Mr Horton's father Michael said his son had started using marijuana at 15 before eventually using ice in the years leading up to 2019.

He said his son didn't deserve to be killed and that his family just wants him back.

"It's enormously important to have Jacob back, whether he be dead or alive, doesn't make any difference. We'd just rather have him back."

The missing man's phone was obtained by police that day and they have released a fresh photo they believe was taken that morning.

They are particularly keen to know who he left the home in Frankston with and exactly where he was headed, to build on the account given by those he had visited at the property.

Det Insp Stamper said such cases can leave families with a "torturous grief" that doesn't end until their loved one is found.

"We won't give in, we'll keep going," he said.

Source : 9 News More   

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