Australia uses criminal investigation system to track roving infected couple


A phone-tracking system used by SAPOL for criminal investigations was used  to better understand where a coronavirus-infected 60-year-old couple, who had travelled from Wuhan to visit relatives, roamed in Adelaide in order to identify people who might have been exposed, according to the South Australian police commissioner. Police used a program that only requires a phone number to initiate a download of where the phone has been used; to use it they must meet a legislative threshold requiring suspicion of a serious offence or that there are life-threatening circumstances. In this case, one justification was that as foreigners they would not be familiar enough with the area to be able to say accurately where they had been. Under Australian data retention laws, phone and Internet companies must save phone metadata for two years.


Writer: Malcolm Sutton
Publication: ABC Radio Adelaide