APF Newsletter 10 July 2020

We regret the delay since the last Newsletter. The primary reason has again been busyness on policy issues, but to some extent the COVID-19 epidemic has also played a role. The lockdown hasn’t greatly affected the workings of an organisation that has operated mostly virtually for decades already. However, it’s had a substantial impact on… Read More

Advocacy Groups Oppose Google Takeover of Fitbit

Consumer and citizen groups have significant concerns that Google’s proposed takeover of wearables manufacturer Fitbit would be a game-changer not only for how people interact with the online world but also for digital and related health markets. Regulators around the world –in particular those concerned with antitrust compliance and data privacy –must therefore give it… Read More

The COVIDSafe bill doesn’t go far enough to protect our privacy. Here’s what needs to change

Katharine Kemp, UNSW and Graham Greenleaf, UNSW The Australian government will need to correct earlier misstatements and improve privacy protections to gain the trust of the millions of Australians being called on to download the COVIDSafe contact tracing app. The draft Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Bill 2020, or the “COVIDSafe bill”, released yesterday,… Read More

How [NOT] to earn public trust for the Contact Tracing App?

“This public health crisis is too important to risk a repeat of recent personal data disasters that undermined community trust in governments’ use of IT. The last Census, council exploitation of metadata retention, ‘Robodebt’, laws undermining encryption, and compulsory registration for an empty My Health Record loom large in public memory. The way this app… Read More

Australian Information Commission v Facebook Inc [2020] FCA 531 (22 April 2020): application for service outside of Australia, the Commissioner’s prima facie case. The opening round in the first civil proceeding for breach of the Privacy Act by the Commissioner

On 23 April 2020 in Australian Information Commission v Facebook Inc the Australian Information Commissioner successfully obtained interim suppression and non publication orders and orders to serve outside Australia and substituted service against Facebook Inc.

This is the first of what is likely to be a number of interlocutory judgments as the civil penalty proceedings slowly move towards a hearing. Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: How to earn public trust before the Contact Tracing App

The Australian public is attracted by the idea of using technology to assist tracing contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19. A proximity logging app is proposed. The Australian public, along with scientists and researchers around the world, are also very concerned about gifting future governments the power to impose contact tracing on the populace through… Read More

The coronavirus contact tracing app won’t log your location, but it will reveal who you hang out with

Roba Abbas, Lecturer, School of Management, Operations and Marketing, University of Wollongong and Katina Michael, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society & School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University The federal government has announced plans to introduce a contact tracing mobile app to help curb COVID-19’s spread in… Read More

Australia’s privacy watchdog is taking Facebook to court. It’s a good start.

Katharine Kemp, UNSW and Kayleen Manwaring, UNSW On Monday, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) brought proceedings against Facebook in the Federal Court, asking the court to impose financial penalties for serious interference with the privacy of more than 300,000 Australians. To our knowledge, this is the first time the privacy regulator has… Read More

Australian police are using the Clearview AI facial recognition system with no accountability

Jake Goldenfein, Swinburne University of Technology Australian police agencies are reportedly using a private, unaccountable facial recognition service that combines machine learning and wide-ranging data-gathering practices to identify members of the public from online photographs. The service, Clearview AI, is like a reverse image search for faces. You upload an image of someone’s face and… Read More

Australia’s National Digital ID is here, but the government’s not talking about it

Dr Patrick Scolyer-Gray, Deakin University The Australian government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has spent more than A$200 million over the past five years developing a National Digital ID platform. If successful, the project could streamline commerce, resolve bureaucratic quagmires, and improve national security. The emerging results of the project may give the Australian public cause… Read More