APF Newsletter 7 May 2021

We regret the 10-month delay since the most recent Newsletter!

The Board has remained very busy throughout, with about 20 submissions
made during that period

These included a very substantial response to the Issues Paper published by the Attorney-General’s Department in relation to the (non-independent) review it is conducting of the Privacy Act. The scope was very broad, and it accordingly involved a team of contributors, led by Prof. Graham Greenleaf.

Other papers, lead-authored by a considerable range of members, addressed topics as diverse and important as:

  • a number of COVID-19 initiatives that were unjustifiable or
    unjustifiably intrusive into privacy interests (done partly to
    helpensure that the media were tuned into the endeavours of
    Dutton and his friends to normalise population surveillance)
  • Google’s takeover of Fitbit
  • the ‘Consumer Data Right’, designed to achieve disclosure of
    personal data in the financial services sector, in return for
    little or no benefit to the large majority of consumers
  • the valueless but still-not-dead-yet ‘My Health Record’
  • drones
  • OAIC’s revisions to its ‘Guide to Securing Personal Information’
  • enormously invasive, unjustifiably intense background checking
    by employers, and specifically by Australia’s national university

A further succession of latter-day ‘surveillance society’ Bills have been fought. Ever so slowly, politicians are rediscovering their ticker, and questioning the justification for such nominally ‘national security’ measures, and the scope of the powers sought, and the collateral damage arising from them.

Multiple of these submissions have involved interactions with other advocacy organisations, including both traditional ‘civil liberties’ and more recent ‘digital freedoms’ associations.

A further initiative has been the establishment of a Policy Drafting Forum. This enables members to contribute to research and drafting on a variety of topics, without needing to commit to the responsibilities of being on the Board itself.

A first output from this group is approaching completion, in the form of a Policy Statement on COVID-19 Surveillance.

As always, the APF’s activities can be watched here:

Roger Clarke
Secretary, for the APF Board