Australian govt doesn't keep cybersafety button source code

The Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has said it does not have the source code for its big, red cybersafety button.

Following the disclosure late last year that the government had expected Apple to reject its cybersafety button app from the App Store, it has been revealed that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) doesn't have the source code for the application.

Image: Sony

In 2010, the government launched a software-based red button for the desktop, which allows a child who was being bullied or facing other problems online to click a button and be directed to a website that shows them what they can do. The website would explain, for example, how to report issues to Facebook or to the police.

At the last report, AU$113,000 had been spent on the app. Since the launch, the government has also released versions of the program for browsers, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, and Android. The department failed to get a version onto iOS , because Apple judged it "not sufficiently different from a web browsing experience".

A freedom of information (FOI) request by network engineer Mark Newton revealed yesterday that the department doesn't have the source code for its own application, with external developers only providing installation files to the government.

"The installation files required to download the Help Button have been loaded onto the department's servers. The department doesn't require the source code to run the Help Button's application."

Newton has requested a review of the decision.

"I have difficulty believing that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy spent several hundred thousand dollars developing these help button applications, and, upon completion, didn't even receive source code deliverables," he said.

"Either the source code exists somewhere where the department has not looked, or the department has simply lost several hundred thousand dollars worth of taxpayer-funded intellectual property."


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