APF Newsletter 21 November 2019

Our apologies for the gap since the last Newsletter.
We’re endeavouring to get back to a cycle of 2 or 3 updates per annum.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held on 13 November 2019.

You can view the detailed Annual Report.

The Chair Group remains as before, comprising:
Chair: David Vaile
Vice-Chairs: Kat Lane, Bruce Baer Arnold
Secretary-Treasurer:  Mark Walkom recently retired after 5 years, and Roger Clarke was elected to the position.
Health Committee Chair:   Bernard Robertson-Dunn continues in this very busy role

Two new Board members have been welcomed:

  • Sean McLaughlan, an experienced lawyer who has worked with both (Dr) Elizabeth Coomb while she was the NSW Privacy Commissioner and (Prof) Joe Cannataci, the UN Privacy Rapporteur
  • (Dr) Arash Shaghaghi, a computer science Lecturer at Deakin Uni, who has strong network and security background
Their expertise is indicative of the diversity that we need, and that we’ve been successful in sustaining on the APF Board.


Considerable efforts continue to be invested in a wide range of privacy matters.

My Health Record

The fraudulent vacuousness of the PCEHR/MyHR is becoming increasingly understood by the public, the media and the public service, and the enormously wasteful project may fall apart over the coming year.

Consumer Data Right

We continue to focus on the substantial changes needed to the business-oriented / consumer-hostile ‘Consumer Data Right’ (CDR). We have recently sent a submission outlining a number of outstanding privacy problems for the independent Privacy Impact Assessment.

Census 2021

The design of the Census has worsened over each of the last four cycles. The APF remains very concerned that the Australian Bureau of Statistics continues to make name and address compulsory with this information being linked with sensitive statistical information. The APF is currently involved in the consultation process for the Privacy Impact Assessment.

Other busy areas have included:
  • government intrusions into telecommunications privacy
  • digital surveillance economy abuses, with Facebook and Google behaviour now very much on the public agenda
  • irresponsible data analytics, such as DHS’s ‘robodebt’ fiasco
  • irresponsible spruiking and applications of artificial intelligence including the recent, appallingly weak ‘AI Ethics Guidelines’ written by CSIRO/Data61 and published by the Dept of Industry
One of the few positive stances that APF was able to adopt during another depressing year was to use several opportunities to argue for the implementation of a privacy right of action.

Here is the index of policy papers.

The APF continues to value your support for its work for privacy, and against privacy-abusive initiatives in business and government.