Defending your right to control your personal information

News and Updates

Instagram’s privacy updates for kids are positive. But plans for an under-13s app means profits still take precedence

Facebook recently announced significant changes to Instagram for users aged under 16. New accounts will be private by default, and advertisers will be limited in how they can reach young people.
The new changes are long overdue and welcome. But Facebook’s commitment to childrens’ safety is still in question as it continues to develop a separate version of Instagram for kids aged under 13.

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This Newsletter provides a brief ‘policy news’ update, preceded by the Renewals Notice.

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QR code contact-tracing apps are a crucial part of our defence against COVID-19. But their value depends on being widely used, which in turn means people using these apps need to be confident their data won’t be misused.
That’s why this week’s revelation that Western Australian police accessed data gathered using the SafeWA app are a serious concern.

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RAC is trialling a new app to reward members for their good behaviour, but privacy experts warn users to be cautious.

APF’s own Dr Juanita Fernando spoke yesterday with 9 News Perth regarding data collection in the new RAC trial app.

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While Australia is focussed on COVID, the government acts to quietly collect our personal health data. The Department of Health funded project, Primary Health Insights, has been uploading detailed health records from GP databases. While almost 10% of Australians opted out of My Health Record, most may be unaware they are giving consent to their default data upload, when they sign the patient registration form to see their own doctor.

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Australia’s parliament is considering legislation to give new powers to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Australian Federal Police. These powers will allow them to modify online data, monitor network activity, and take over online accounts in some circumstances. Last week, in a submission to parliament regarding the proposed powers, ACIC made an inaccurate and concerning claim about privacy and information security. ACIC claimed “there is no legitimate reason for a law-abiding member of the community to own or use an encrypted communication platform”. Encrypted communication platforms, including WhatsApp, Signal, Facetime and iMessage, are in common use, allowing users to send messages that can only be read by the intended recipients. There are many legitimate reasons law-abiding people may use them. And surveillance systems, no matter how well-intentioned, may have negative effects and be used for different purposes or by different people than those they were designed for.

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