Privacy Climate Change

Privacy storms have increased in frequency and intensity, and it’s getting worse.

“Privacy underpins people’s lives. It’s not going away. Technology continues to heap threats on it. Organisations keep on blindly applying those technologies. People are getting fed up with these things. It’s increasingly costing business money, and government agencies trust”.

David Vaile, Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, was speaking prior to the APF’s 30th anniversary celebrations in Sydney on 28 July 2017.

The event was held in Sydney to coincide with the date when the APF was formed, at a meeting in Alan Jones’ house. From the beginning, the organisation featured people from across the political spectrum, with Peter Garrett alongside Greg Chappell, Janine Haines beside philosopher Lauchlan Chipman, and Diamond Jim McClelland arm-in-arm with AMA President Dr Bruce Shepherd.

“The motivation then was to defeat the Australia Card. The Australian public mobilised, and the Card collapsed”.

“It happened again with the Access Card. Canberra’s bureaucracy keeps trying. It’s up to the public to keep beating them back”.

“APF is here to help that process”, said Vaile. “Recent gross behaviour has included that by the Department of Human Services in automating decision-making about people – and doing it extremely badly – and by the Bureau of Statistics who’ve converted the Census into a permanent, identified database with fine details about people’s lives – and they botched the implementation as well”.

“But the ever-present threat of a national identification scheme and excessive government meddling in people’s lives is only half of the story”, Vaile continued.

“Corporations throughout the private sector have become arrogant. People aren’t ‘customers’ any more. Companies make their decisions based entirely on the data that they assemble. Some of it is acquired legitimately but most of it is tricked out people, or expropriated from other sources”.

“People are increasingly standing up against the digital surveillance economy, providing to companies only the data that they reasonably need, and making up the rest. That’s the natural result of the destruction of trust”.