Sunday, November 28

Government, police unable to enforce mandatory QR code scanning

People are circumventing contact tracing systems by signing up with fake names and numbers, and the new rules that go into effect at midnight are powerless to stop the practice.

A person using the Covid Tracer app

The Covid-19 Tracer application in use.
Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The government promoted the introduction of mandatory record keeping for most events and businesses, which will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. M., When much of the country falls to a lower alert level.

But scanning or logging in won’t be mandatory, and the government says it’s only mandatory for businesses and events to have logs available when people visit.

“If someone refuses to scan, there is no expectation or requirement that companies or locations should force a customer or visitor to scan or provide their data to trace contacts,” said a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet Department.

“Businesses and locations are also not required or expected to turn away individuals who may refuse to register their visit.”

Companies will not be punished if people do not register.

“The person in charge of a business, place or event, must legally ensure that they have secure and protected systems and processes so that everyone who works in their facilities or visits them can scan or provide their data in electronic or paper format. Process. manual, no matter how long they are there.

“This includes workers, contractors, clients and volunteers.

“The person in charge must legally have more than one way for people to record their visit, especially for people who cannot scan QR codes.”

The changes cover a wide range of businesses and services such as cafes, restaurants, barbers, residences, courts and libraries.

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders have been flocking online, sharing misinformation and conspiracy theories about Covid-19 and the resulting problems the pandemic has caused.

Vaccinations and the use of masks are common themes, but mandatory contact tracing is now on the horizon.

In closed forums that RNZ has gained access to, people have discussed how to avoid scanning and say they have been using fake names and phone numbers.

They said it would continue if the scan became mandatory.

“If people choose to provide false contact information, they are directly jeopardizing the ability for contact tracing to occur quickly and accurately. This could put their health and the health of others at risk,” said the DPMC spokesperson.

“We ask that everyone do their bit to support the shops, services, cafes, restaurants and venues, and the staff who work in these venues.

“Contact tracing is one of the most powerful tools we have to stop the spread of Covid-19, minimize crashes, and keep friends and whānau safe.”

The police have a number of tools to monitor groups on social media, such as the ones RNZ has obtained.

They did not disclose what kind of monitoring is going on on Covid-19 issues.

A police spokesman said that providing false information to a medical health officer could be a crime that can lead to prosecution, but writing false details in a contact tracing book falls short of that level.

“Entering accurate personal information into a contact tracing book is based, in practical terms, on good faith and voluntary cooperation,” they said.

“Providing false details in a contact log book is putting the person providing those details, as well as friends and whānau, at risk of being unaware of contact with a deadly virus and of the risk that, in turn, could represent for others. “

If people enter false information into contact log books, Ministry of Health officials have other means to try to trace the contacts, but it is much more difficult and time consuming.

The government is expected to release its level 2 order today, which may include updated contact tracing rules for businesses.

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