By Justin Hendry
Jun 16 2021
WA Police refused request to stop accessing Covid check-in app data

Forcing the govt to introduce new laws.

WA Police turned down a government request to stop accessing QR code check-in data from the state’s SafeWA app, forcing the hasty introduction of new legislation this week.

Premier Mark McGowan told WA’s parliament on Tuesday the government had tried to negotiate a way forward after it came to light that police had lawfully accessed the data on two occasions.

The contact registration information was accessed as part of an investigation into two serious crimes using a loophole, which the government is now racing to plug.

“The police commissioner advised me that under the law it is actually lawful for police officers to access any information unless it is expressly unlawful,” McGowan said.

“So police officers on two occasion had accessed, as part of investigations into very serious crimes, information using the SafeWA app.

“I requested that the police no longer do that, but the police commissioner advised me that his officers are exercising their rights under the law and are just doing their job.

“I accept that. But our view is that the SafeWA app should only be used for contact tracing purposes.”

McGowan said he was made aware that police had accessed the data in April, and that it had taken until now to draft the legislation.