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Tag Archives for " Australia "

Australia Tightens Privacy Protections on COVID-19 Tracing App

New legislation imposes stronger privacy protections on Australia’s planned contact-tracing app. “The Australian government’s coronavirus tracing app will have stronger privacy protections under legislation which has passed Parliament,” reports The New Daily.

The legislation was passed amid concerns about the government’s reluctance to be honest about the limitations of the app. It will put strict requirements on the collection, use and disclosure of COVIDSafe app data.

Source: Australia Tightens Privacy Protections on COVID-19 Tracing App

Questions remain over whether data collected by Covidsafe app could be accessed by US law enforcement

The federal government has reassured the public that Covidsafe data held by Amazon will not be able to be accessed by US law enforcement, but a parliamentary committee is currently investigating separate legislation that would pave the way for US law enforcement to access data held in Australia.

The defence minister, Marise Payne, argued that because the Covidsafe legislation makes “any transfer of data to any country outside Australia … a criminal offence under the provisions of the bill”, US law enforcement would not be able to get the Covidsafe data.

However, the telecommunications legislation amendment (international production orders) bill 2020 would, if passed, make it possible for Australia to facilitate agreements with other nations so that Australian law enforcement agencies could access data held in those countries and vice versa. It has been developed with the US Cloud Act in mind.

Source: Questions remain over whether data collected by Covidsafe app could be accessed by US law enforcement | Law (Australia) | The Guardian

Home affairs data breach may have exposed personal details of 700,000 migrants

Privacy experts have blasted the home affairs department for a data breach revealing the personal details of 774,000 migrants and people aspiring to migrate to Australia, including partial names and the outcome of applications.

At a time the federal government is asking Australians to trust the security of data collected by its Covid-Safe contact tracing app, privacy experts are appalled by the breach, which they say is just the latest in a long line of cybersecurity blunders.

Source: Home affairs data breach may have exposed personal details of 700,000 migrants | Data protection | The Guardian

Australian police used Clearview AI facial recognition software to counter child exploitation

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has admitted to using a facial recognition tool, despite not having an appropriate legislative framework in place, to help counter child exploitation.

In response to questions taken on notice by deputy commissioner Karl Kent, the AFP said while it did not adopt the facial recognition platform Clearview AI as an enterprise product and had not entered into any formal procurement arrangements with the company, it did use a trial version. Seven officers have conducted searches on the Clearview AI facial recognition platform.

Source: AFP used Clearview AI facial recognition software to counter child exploitation | ZDNet

Australia will install home surveillance hardware to ensure virus isolation

The State of Western Australia has given itself the power to install surveillance devices in homes, or compel people to wear them, to ensure that those required to isolate during the coronavirus crisis don’t interact with the community.

Not all people will be required to use the devices. State Premier Mark McGowan said they’ll only be used if: “Someone who is directed to self-isolate and fails to comply.”

Source: Australian state will install home surveillance hardware to make sure if you’re in virus isolation, you stay there • The Register

Australian Watchdog launches action against Facebook

The Australian Information Commissioner has lodged proceedings against Facebook in the Federal Court, alleging the social media platform has committed serious and/or repeated interferences with privacy in contravention of Australian privacy law.

The Commissioner alleges that the personal information of Australian Facebook users was disclosed to the This is Your Digital Life app for a purpose other than the purpose for which the information was collected, in breach of the Privacy Act 1988.

Source: Commissioner launches Federal Court action against Facebook — OAIC

Australia’s Home Affairs pushes back against encryption law proposals

Both Labor and Australia’s Independent National Security Legislation Monitor have proposed judicial approvals before cops and spooks can access encrypted communications, but the Department of Home Affairs isn’t keen.

The Department of Home Affairs has rejected criticisms of Australia’s controversial encryption laws, including the often-cited need for external judicial oversight and the impact of the laws on the tech industry.

Source: Home Affairs pushes back against encryption law proposals | ZDNet

AFP and NSW Police used Australia’s encryption laws seven times in 2018-19

Seven Technical Assistance Requests made with no Technical Assistance Notices or Technical Capability Notices issued.

The Department of Home Affairs has revealed it used Australia’s contentious encryption laws seven times in the period between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019. Australian Federal Police (AFP) used the laws five times and NSW Police used the laws two times.

All seven instances were Technical Assistance Requests, which are voluntary requests for the designated communications providers to use their existing capabilities to access user communications.

Source: AFP and NSW Police used Australia’s encryption laws seven times in 2018-19 | ZDNet

Australian government secretly releasing sensitive medical records to police

The Australian government is releasing highly sensitive medical records to police through a secret regime that experts say contains fundamentally flawed privacy protections.

The Department of Human Services fields large volumes of requests for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) data from state and federal policing agencies each year.

Source: Australian government secretly releasing sensitive medical records to police

Australian regulator files privacy suit against Google alleging location data misuse

An Australian regulator has filed a lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google, accusing it of misleading smartphone users about how it collected and used personal location data, advancing a global crackdown on the world’s biggest tech firms.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the local Google unit did not tell users of its Android operating system for almost two years that they needed to switch off two settings – not one – if they did not want the company to keep their information.

Source: Australian regulator files privacy suit against Google alleging location data misuse – Reuters

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