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Ed Sheeran

COVID Tracer app falls short for Maori
Photo: Getty Images.

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A Māori data expert is expecting low Māori take-up of a government app to track potential exposure to COVID-19.

The COVID Tracer app released this week by the Ministry of Health keeps a digital diary of an individual’s movements by asking them to register a QR code when they enter a participating store or business.

Karaitiana Taiuru says it is supposed to speed up contact tracing if cases of COVID-19 emerge in future, but there are serious questions about data security and data sovereignty, as the data will be stored in Australian on technology owned by a United States company.

He says iwi and hapū may want an app to help them reach their people in the case of some future calamity or natural disaster, but the COVID-19 app isn’t it.

"It would have to take into consideration we have lots of marae with no internet, whānau without internet. A lot of our whānau have one cellphone for the whole whānau. They have to take all those considerations of communal living as opposed to the western view of one cellphone, one person, one owner," he says.

Mr Taiuru says many whānau on low incomes are still using older or cheaper cellphones which can’t read QR codes.

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