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Health – Privacy

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 23 November 2020

Tags: Health, Privacy

Dr WOODRUFF - Minster, further in that discussion - to ensure the highest level of compliance with the broad catch-all information about who has been in contact with whom, there has to be trust among people in the community about how the information will be gathered and stored and how privacy will be assured. There has been a fair amount of public conversation about the privacy of paper records collected in hospitality venues. Can you please detail for us what the privacy guidelines are? What is mandated? What are simply guidelines? What assurance can Tasmanians have that their information will not be misused.

Ms COURTNEY - Regarding information collected by venues, the order through Public Health includes a statement about what that information can legally be used for. I might get the secretary to talk to that in a moment. Regarding the use of information more broadly, obviously any data collected outside that public health order would still have the usual provisions and covered by privacy legislation. I encourage venues to look at what works well for them. A good example could be a church group that has collected contact details of people who arrive at church. Having a piece of paper with a pen that is cleaned in between uses might work really well for them, because a lot of the people know each other so there is not a concern.

In other venues that may not be the case and that is why it is up to operators to put in what is most appropriate for them and their patrons. I would suggest any patron who has any concerns about the method of collection should speak to the operator or the owner of that venue to seek their own assurance or see if they can provide their information a different way.

I note that as discussed with Ms White many of the venues are moving to QR codes or electronic things. They are quite easy to manage, however they are not going to be applicable in all cases. They won't be able to be used because of limitations around either the customer base, in terms of their access to technology, or the location.

In terms of privacy I will ask the secretary to talk to the provision that is within the public health order.

Ms MORGAN-WICKS - I might also ask Mark to comment in relation to his public health direction.

Businesses are collecting information using various methods. The two concerns we have heard from the public about paper-based records relate firstly to the use of information for promotional materials - which explicitly is not permitted in the collection of information for contact tracing for public health. The second issue is walking in and basically signing on a piece of paper, whether you are consenting to everyone else after you then seeing your phone number, for example, when you can clearly see that 20 other people have signed before you and left their phone number. It is a tricky space for businesses to work through.

Certainly, the recommendation would be that there is a private way in which people could nominate and provide their contact details to that business. While I have stood in a café waiting for a takeaway for example, I have seen customers ask to provide their information in a more private way. So, customers are pushing back.

From the Tasmanian health perspective, we have been working together with ACT Health which has a check in ACT QR code app. They have been very positive in working with our Tasmanian Health developers to create a 'check in Tas' QR code app, which is a very basic and very vanilla and simple to use QR code. As the minister mentioned, there are other QR code applications available in the market. I know some businesses would prefer to have a higher frilled option in terms of asking specific health screening questions, for example, before people go in and use the QR code at the same time; or if it is a restaurant, to make their menu or booking system also available at the same time as being granted a code. This would simply be a QR code that's available. We are working on a way to have that, and there should be a further announcement this week.