Paper – Australia: The use of QR codes to identify COVID-19 contacts and the role of data trust and data privacy 5 Nov

The aim of this paper is to provide an update on attitudes of the general public to data privacy during the COVID-19 period, as well as the factors associated with the use of QR codes and other government apps/web-sites for contact tracing purposes. The authors find that there has been a small decline in trust in institutions regarding data privacy since May 2020, with levels of trust still nonetheless above those reported pre-COVID. While there is a high level of self-reported use of QR codes, there are key socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic determinants of usage. Males, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, those born overseas in a non-English speaking country, those with low levels of education and those outside of the most advantaged areas are all less likely to use check-in apps. When the authors control for these background characteristics, there is a very large difference in use of check-in apps based on trust in institutions. Those Australians who are more trusting in institutions with regards to data privacy are, in general, more likely to always use check-in apps – 54.2 per cent for low trust individuals compared to 68.5 per cent for high trust individuals.