COVID contact forms: Why Queenslanders are telling lies

 

Exclusive: Brisbane residents worried about their privacy are lying on contact forms when attending venues including cafes and restaurants, risking their health and safety, and those around them.

A poll of 1500 Australians, given exclusively to News Corp, found one in 10 respondents had purposefully recorded incorrect or incomplete details on venue contact forms.

A quarter of those polled during the first two weeks of July said they were concerned the venue would not destroy their personal information properly. Nearly a fifth feared the business would use their details for marketing purposes.

A young woman scans a QR code to sign in to a pub. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard
A young woman scans a QR code to sign in to a pub. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard

The data provided by GuestCheck - a contact tracing platform - also found about one in ten respondents, who were aged 16 and over, believed providing their details to venues was unnecessary given they had already downloaded the Federal Government's COVIDSafe contact tracing app.

Legislation exists in every state and territory mandating venues to record patrons' details and to hold them strictly for contract tracing purposes.

One in 10 Brisbane residents admitted to providing incomplete or incorrect details on contact forms to protect their privacy.

More than a quarter of those surveyed were concerned the venue would not destroy their personal details appropriately. A fifth were concerned the business would use the information provided for marketing purposes.

Brisbane residents worried about their privacy are lying on contact forms.
Brisbane residents worried about their privacy are lying on contact forms.

Businesses in the state including hospitality venues, and beauty service providers among others are required to take down personal details in case the need for contract tracing arises.

Visitors are required to provide their full name, phone number, email address (or residential address if unavailable), and the date and time of their patronage. A Queensland Health spokesperson said businesses "must have these details on hand to provide to public health officers to assist with contact tracing if required."

"The recent cases from last week emphasise just how important it is for individuals to make sure they are providing their correct contact details to ensure contact tracing can be doing done efficiently and rapidly where there is a confirmed COVID-19 case," the spokesperson said.

"Records are to be used only for the purposes of tracing COVID-19 infections. Businesses must ensure records are stored confidentially and securely for 56 days, not use it for any other purpose, then dispose of the records securely.

"Penalties apply for failure to comply with the public health directions."

The data also revealed that almost half of respondents were concerned about their contact details being on a paper page for anyone to see.

Melbourne residents have admitted to providing incorrect or incomplete details on contact forms at cafes and restaurants.
Melbourne residents have admitted to providing incorrect or incomplete details on contact forms at cafes and restaurants.

Patrons at venues using GuestCheck text a unique venue code to a designated mobile number, which then provides them with a secure check-in link.

Visitors then provide information based on what that business is required to record. Staff can then cite a green screen presented on the patron's device that confirms the guest has registered correctly.

Governments across the nation are being urged to mandate digital contract tracing forms at venues. Picture: Sarah Matray
Governments across the nation are being urged to mandate digital contract tracing forms at venues. Picture: Sarah Matray

GuestCheck CEO Adrian Kinderis, whose digital contract tracing app is used by more than 500 pubs and other venues across Australia, called on governments across the nation to mandate digital contract tracing forms at venues.

"Governments need to do more. By not regulating this properly it leaves our health officials and contact tracers wading through handwritten logs and a patchwork of unverified contact data," Mr Kinderis said.

"Without complete confidence that venue guests can be traced and contacted, the system is totally flawed."

He said they needed to ensure they were storing personal data safely and securely to "avoid the risk of a privacy breach".

"That's a financial and reputational risk no business can afford right now," he said.

Damien Manuel, Director of Deakin University's Centre for Cybersecurity Research and Information, said while details provided in digital contact tracing forms were not immune from security breaches, that should not deter people from providing the information.

"People give away so much more information to companies like Facebook," Mr Manuel said.

"You should, when you receive an email or a text message, question the legitimacy of it. And if you take that thought process, then really, there's no harm in providing your name and contact details.

"It's not like you're handing over your date of birth, license number, or passport information."

Originally published as COVID contact forms: Why Queenslanders are telling lies



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