Information Commissioner issues determination into 7-Eleven Stores for APP breaches through use of facial recognition technology of unsuspecting customers

The Australian Information Commissioner has issued a very significant determination resulting from a Commissioner initiated investigation into 7-Eleven, where she found that the company had breached Australian Privacy Principle (APP) 3 and 5 of the Privacy Act 1988. Read More

Too late? The new normal, State government slurps up all patient information.

The Victorian government acts in haste to pass health database law, the community will repent at leisure. The Victorian government’s “Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2021” was hurried through its first Parliamentary vote last week.1 The Bill links all patient medical and health information through a single portal, to be shared between authorised end-users,… Read More

Vaccination status – when your medical information is private and when it’s not

We value the idea that our medical information is private and subject to special protection and that our doctor can’t freely share it with others. Yet suddenly, it seems we might be asked to hand over information about our vaccination status in many different situations.
It might be so we can keep doing our job, go into shops and restaurants or travel. It might make us uneasy. But can we refuse to tell others our vaccination status on privacy grounds? What does the law in Australia say about who can ask for it, and why, and what they can do with it? Read More

APF Newsletter 19 September 2021

The Australian Privacy Foundation enjoys the support of many leading Australians across many walks of life. We routinely draw attention to the standing of the APF’s Patrons and Advisory Panel members when we make submissions.
The APF’s policy positions have always been based on research and careful argument, and we believe that the quality of the Panel reinforces that positioning. We’re delighted to announce a tranche of new members of that Panel. Read More

I’d prefer an ankle tag: why home quarantine apps are a bad idea

South Australia has begun a trial of a new COVID app to monitor arrivals into the state. SA Premier Steven Marshall claimed “every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app”. But why are we developing such home-quarantine apps in the first place, when we already have a cheap technology to do this? If we want to monitor that people are at home (and that’s a big if), wouldn’t one of the ankle tags already used by our corrective services for home detention be much simpler, safer and more robust? There are many reasons to be concerned about home-quarantine apps. Read More

Police access to COVID check-in data is an affront to our privacy. We need stronger and more consistent rules in place

The Australian Information Commissioner this week called for a ban on police accessing QR code check-in data, unless for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes. State police have already accessed this data on at least six occasions for unrelated criminal investigations. We need cooperation and clarity regarding how COVID surveillance data is handled, to protect people’s privacy and maintain public trust in surveillance measures. We propose more detailed and consistent laws to be enacted throughout Australia, covering all COVID surveillance. Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: Banks can do better – Consumer groups make more than 100 recommendations to improve bank behaviour

A coalition of the country’s leading consumer organisations is calling on Australia’s major banks to make significant updates to their industry code to improve outcomes for customers. The Consumers’ Federation of Australia’s (CFA) submission of behalf of the coalition to the 2021 review of the Australian Banking Association (ABA) Banking Code of Practice (the Code) sets out over 100 recommendations. Read More

How one simple rule change could curb online retailers’ snooping on you

I spent last week studying the 26,000 words of privacy terms published by eBay and Amazon, trying to extract some straight answers, and comparing them to the privacy terms of other online marketplaces such as Kogan and Catch. The bad news is that none of the privacy terms analysed are good. Based on their published policies, there is no major online marketplace operating in Australia that sets a commendable standard for respecting consumers’ data privacy. Read More

APF’s Position on the 2021 Census

The APF has been buried in a large number of issues, and was unable to prioritise work on the Census during 2020-21. APF invested vast amounts of time in the lead-up to each of the ’06, ’11 and ’16 events. The impact we had was considerable in ’06, but has declined each time since. The simple fact is that the ABS has long since abandoned its once exemplary stand on privacy. It has now positioned itself as the operator of a centralised database on the whole population, expropriating data from many government agencies, retaining all Census and Survey data in identified form, and consolidating it all into a single, dense record. The National Health Survey has been incorporated into the 2021 Census for randomly selected households. Read More