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technology

Is it Secure to Store Private Mobile Device COVID Tracking Data with Foreign-Owned Corporations ?

Context: Like many other Governments around the world, the Australian Government is seeking to use mobile device tracking technology to assist suppressing the COVID-19 virus through contact tracing. The Australian Government has found itself as a valuable pawn in a corporate game of power and profiteering. The Australian people have found themselves and their data being traded into foreign-owned corporate information storage which hardly seems anything like reliable and in any ultimate sense secure. More context: DTA chief defends AWS pick for COVIDSafe

A couple of days ago, I read an interesting article about “extended phenotypes” in biology, computation and physics. One entity, organism or system will outsource or offboard it’s information and energy-processing costs to an external entity or system as a means of maintaining the original system’s optimal and sustainable continuity – this is a form of parasitic symbiosis.  No surprises there, but the suggestion might be that while Government seeks to offboard complexity to an external platform and exploit that resource with optimal efficiency, it is actually the Government that is being simultaneously (and comprehensively) exploited as the extended phenotype of Amazon.  Amazon plausibly benefits more than Australia does from this relationship and, again, beyond the salient information security concerns and a diversity of associated long-term costs – Government has potentially sleepwalked us all into another expensive and risky relationship.

That inverse relationship may also be somewhat unsurprising but, beyond the elephant-in-the-room of security-as-Sovereignty (and vice versa), the overt appearances here are that this Government is being “played” by a large, persuasive and powerful corporate presence.

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