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Privacy concerns over new COVID-19 tracing tech in South Australia logo 24/11/2020 9News Staff

QR codes are coming to a COVID-era South Australia, but legal experts are wary of the potential consequences.

The codes are used to register entry at a café, pub, or supermarket, and are intended to support contact tracing efforts.

The data is stored in a government database, and used if an outbreak occurs.

a hand holding a cell phone: QR codes will be used to enter pubs and cafes and supermarkets in South Australia. © 9News QR codes will be used to enter pubs and cafes and supermarkets in South Australia.

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Legal experts have warned that any privacy breach will hurt public trust.

"If there's one inkling that the program is not going down as has been promised, it will collapse, and if it collapses, we all lose that opportunity," Professor Rick Sarre of the University of South Australia said.

Authorities have said any information gathered will be deleted after 28 days.

"Police will not have access to the data," Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said.

"It will be available for (health officials) to access in real-time in order to do their contact tracing efforts."

Employees readying for QR codes have also said the data won't be used for marketing.

Experts said the QR code system should prove much more effective in dealing with a potential outbreak than the COVIDSafe app.

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"The COVIDSafe app, I think we can safely say, was a dud, and a very expensive dud at that," Professor Sarre said.

"The QR code is a much better system."

The new technology is expected to be rolled out by December 1.

And if you leave your phone at home, pen-and-paper sign-ins will be another option.

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