DTA refuses to release COVIDSafe cloud hosting bill

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DTA refuses to release COVIDSafe cloud hosting bill

Along with architecture diagrams.

The Digital Transformation Agency has refused to release copies of cloud hosting bills or architecture diagrams for the government’s COVIDSafe contact tracing app, citing "third-party" opposition, which is believed to be from Amazon Web Services.

iTnews requested the bill under freedom of information (FOI) laws after the DTA revealed the app's cloud infrastructure costs came in at $100,000 a month in a “business-as-usual state”.

Earlier this week, the DTA revised down the hosting bill estimate to approximately $75,000 a month after some performance “tuning”, and expects this will fall to $60,000 a month by July.

Brugeaud told senate estimates on Monday that the tuning efforts centred on the “COVIDSafe national data store and how the data is stored as the app is in operation”.

In response to iTnews' FOI request, the DTA said it had identified one document within scope but would not release it.

“[We] have examined the document subject to this request and have decided to exempt it from release,” the DTA said in a FOI request decision on Wednesday.

It cited a “confidential agreement” as the reason, saying that any release of the document would be in “breach of confidence”.

The agency added that “objections [had been] received by [a] third-party”.

“In consultation with the third-party, they have requested that the DTA consider the confidential arrangements and in particular the terms of those arrangements,” the DTA said.

“Considering the contractual arrangements that are in place and the submissions of the third-party, I am satisfied that releasing the requested information would not be in the public interest.”

The DTA also refused a similar FOI request from software developer Richard Nelson for “monthly cost breakdowns for AWS spend related to COVIDSafe server-side components”.

That request also sought “architectural diagrams and related resource requirements for COVIDSafe AWS components”.

As at April 30, the total costs for build and operation of the COVIDSafe app were $7.8 million, up from $6.7 million in January.

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