On Sunday 26 April the Australian government launched the COVIDSafe app to trace contact people who’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

The government has said they won’t share data from the app with anyone, but it’s unclear if other laws would let agencies, like Australia’s national security agency, access your data.

To protect Australians’ privacy, we’ve created a number of principles the government must adhere to ensure the app respect’s human rights. That includes a commitment to only using data to improve traceability, and a commitment to destroy all data at the end of the pandemic, as determined by the public health authorities.

Countries around the world have seized the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to ramp up mass surveillance measures. But a pandemic isn’t an excuse to expand state digital surveillance powers.

When governments violate people’s privacy, those people lose trust in governments – and that can undermine the effectiveness of any public health response.

To respect people’s rights, and stop the spread of COVID-19, the COVIDSafe app must respect human rights.

This crisis offers an opportunity to work together as one and demonstrate our shared humanity. Together, we’re slowing the spread of COVID-19 and now we must make sure the right to privacy is respected.

Minister Stuart Robert is responsible for the app; email him to call on him to ensure the COVIDSafe app respects human rights.