COVIDSafe: Looks like government has does a decent job on privacy, it doesn't track your location, it doesn't store unnecessary information. You should feel safe installing the app.
The problem is it probably doesn't work. I installed it on two iPhones yesterday and then logged all the Bluetooth activity between them overnight. They were notably chatty at first, exactly once a minute contacting each other with COVIDSafe data — which is how the apps can trace who you are in contact with. The apps kept doing that while the screens remained on. Then when I went to bed I pressed the side button to turn the screens off. Communication stopped immediately. As far as I can tell for the rest of the night the apps didn't talk to each other. Looks like the iOS apps only work when both phones have installed the app, both are running the app at the time, and both have screens turned on.
That's not how people normally use their phones. They takes calls, watch TikTok videos, message their friends. My concern is most people will install it, think they're doing the right thing but because they use their phone like a normal person their app won't record even a single contact.
I don't want to be too harsh on the app. They tried something, and we should be trying new things to deal with this pandemic. I don't think the app works right now, but with more time (and probably adoption of the Apple/Google Exposure Notification protocol) they might be able to make an app that is useful.
Welcome to April, the month when most of the first Australian Government stimulus package is rolling out.
It is interesting how things have changed in three weeks since that was announced. Back then the Government was still in politicking mode: saying things like "we will not be pursuing a cash splash in the reckless Rudd-Gillard fashion", and setting up stimulus that was mainly delayed until April — which seemed suspiciously like an economic gerrymander. Packing all the economic damage from the bushfires into the first quarter and pushing most of the stimulus into the second quarter looked more like a plan to avoid the political embarrassment of a technical recession than exemplary economic management.
Fortunately now I reckon the Government has switched their focus away from the politics and more towards finding the best response to the crisis. We've had two more stimulus packages since, each bigger and more immediate. By the third stimulus on Monday the newly announced JobKeeper payment started that day — which is even before many of the measures from the first stimulus had started.
This is good! It's amazing how in just three weeks we can go from prioritising politics to prioritising getting the job done. It gives me hope that Australia will come out of this pandemic as well as possible.