Senior official responsible for contact tracing app

Andrew Ecclestone made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

The request was partially successful.

From: Andrew Ecclestone

Dear Ministry of Health,

This is a request for official information. Pursuant to section 12(3) of the Official Information Act, I request that it be responded to urgently, and in any case as soon as reasonably practicable.

Dr Ayesha Verrall's report, 'Rapid Audit of Contact Tracing for Covid-19 in New Zealand' dated 10 April 2020, is published on your website on 20 April 2020 here:

Recommendation 8 of Dr Verrall's report states: "The Ministry of Health should rapidly complete development of a smartphone app to assist contact tracing and pilot it in New Zealand."

(1) Please provide me with the name and email address for the senior official responsible for the project to procure or develop this smartphone app.

(2) Please provide me with the name(s) of any or all companies that the Ministry of Health is working with to develop this smartphone app.

My reasons for seeking urgent handling of this request are that:
* the absence of a named official and way to contact them are hampering people's ability to provide technical input and scrutiny of the architecture of the app; and
* the lack of public information about who the Ministry is working with to develop this smartphone app is hampering people's ability to scrutinise this critical piece of work; and
* there is a strong public interest in the section 4(a)(i) public participation purpose of the OIA in this information being available, to facilitate public participation in the design and functionality of this app, both on privacy and public health grounds, as once this app is deployed for public use, if it is criticised for gathering too much personal information public trust in the app will diminish and people may not install it on their smartphones, thereby hindering achievement of the objectives for the app; and
* there is a strong public interest in the section 4(a)(ii) public accountability purpose of the OIA in this information being available: this is project which has major public health and privacy implications, and we deserve to know who is leading this work.

Given the limited amount of information requested and the strong public interest in its urgent disclosure, I look forward to receiving this information as soon as possible. If you need to contact me, please do so via the website.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Ecclestone

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Ministry of Health

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Attachment H202002566 Response.pdf
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Kia ora Mr Ecclestone

Please find attached a letter regarding your request for information.

Ngā mihi

OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [email address]

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From: Gaynor Bradfield

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To: Andrew Ecclestone

By Email: [1][FOI #12685 email]

Cc: Alice Cameron. [2][email address]


Dear Mr Ecclestone,


Following your complaint to the Ombudsman, the Ministry has discussed with
the Ombudsman the possibility of meeting you in person or facilitating a
conversation by Zoom or phone in order to answer your questions. Jon
Herries, Group Manager of Emerging Health Technologies & Innovation in the
Ministry’s Data and Digital Directorate was named in our original response
as the senior official responsible for the development of the contact
tracing application. The contact email address of Mr Herries is
[3][email address]. Mr Herries is happy to meet, or talk to you
to discuss the app and answer your questions.


If this solution is acceptable to you, please contact Mr Herries in the
first instance to set up this meeting.


I have copied the Ombudsman into this email to notify them of our proposed
resolution to your complaint.


Yours sincerely.



Gaynor Bradfield

Manager, Office of the Deputy Director General l Data and Digital l DDI:
04 816 2494 l MOB: 021 312 164


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1. mailto:[FOI #12685 email]
2. mailto:[email address]
3. mailto:[email address]

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