A number of legal professionals, with significant experience in the field of privacy law, have signed an open letter to encourage individuals to download the Commonwealth Government’s COVIDSafe App.
Among the privacy lawyers are members of K&L Gates own Australian privacy team (and the authors of this blog post) Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham, Warwick Andersen, Michelle Aggromito and Allison Wallace.
The open letter is signed by members in their personal capacity, and signals that people who care about privacy a lot can still think that supporting the health and economic objectives of the App is more important at this time.
As at the date of this post, more than 5 million people have downloaded the App, with more needed to reach the Commonwealth Government’s target of 40% of the Australian population.
In Part I of this blog, we briefly touched on some of the safeguards that the Commonwealth Government has indicated that they will implement to address privacy concerns. Those proposed new safeguards are intended to satisfy many of the privacy concerns. However, there are additional safeguards that have been implemented in connection with the functionality of the App, which we focus on in Part II here.Read More
The Federal Government’s coronavirus tracing app has raised some privacy concerns amongst the Australian public. Even some of our government Ministers have ruled out downloading the app due to such concerns! However, the independent cyber security body tasked with reviewing the app has said that it has found no major concerns with it.Read More
Nothing can stop us from talking about privacy, including a pandemic! Yesterday, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) issued guidance on the collection, use and disclosure of personal information during the COVID-19 pandemic (Guidance).
It mainly serves as a reminder to organisations that even in these pressing times, they must comply with the Australian privacy regime. However, it also highlights what organisations can collect and do with personal information for the purposes of preventing and managing the spread of COVID-19.Read More
With email being one of the most common forms of communication, it’s not surprising that inboxes these days accumulate thousands of emails that, perhaps, aren’t always electronically filed or deleted (not ours of course).
As the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has indicated in its most recent report on notifications received under the Notifiable Data Breach (NBD) scheme, email accounts are frequently being used for storage, and this raises inherent risk. Yes it’s convenient, but using email to send personal information, such as copies of passports, bank account details and credit card information, can very quickly lose its appeal. If the email account is accessed by a malicious actor through a phishing attack or a rogue employee, the end result can be exploitation of that information for criminal gain.Read More
Optus has been fined $504,000 by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for breaching spam laws, according to articles by the ABC and the SMH. The fine is the second largest in ACMA’s history to be awarded, being just $6,000 shy of the $510,000 fine which was slapped on Telstra in 2014 for missing service standards for urban landline connections.
Despite customers notifying Optus of their wish to opt-out or unsubscribe from such messages, an ACMA investigation found that customers still received the relevant messages, resulting in more than 2 million breaches to the Spam Act 2003 (Cth). Rather than a ‘one-off’ issue, it was found that Optus had systemic deficiencies with their compliance procedures and governance.Read More
After years of political squabble and delays, Brexit day finally arrived on 31 January 2020. But what does it mean when we talk about the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and how will data protection regulation and compliance change?
There will be little change during the transition (also known as “implementation”) period that is expected to end on 31 December 2020. During this period, EU law will continue to apply in the UK, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), after which the GDPR will be converted into UK law.Read More
In just a short few weeks, a monumental change of privacy regulations will kick in for US businesses. On 1 January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will come into effect, with a compliance deadline at the end of January 2020, and signifies a shift in tone in the privacy sphere for the US – with a move closer to global privacy norms, and away from the perspective that personal data is a company asset.
A series of data disasters such as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the massive Equifax breach left many Americans feeling powerless. Regulators stepped in after the fact to punish the companies, but at the time, there was little that U.S. consumers could do to prevent data breaches. Under the CCPA, Americans (well, Californians, mostly) move a step closer to general privacy protection. However, the Act only targets larger companies or those with prolific data use so there is still a long way to go to being general protection.
In October, the California Governor signed five bills to amend CCPA to provide some regulatory relief for businesses when the CCPA comes into effect. For a detailed analysis on the amendments, we refer you to Volume 2 of our colleagues’ Volume 2 of The Privacists available at the K&L Gates Hub.
In his cautionary tale, 1984, author George Orwell spoke of a paradigm where the unregulated use of powerful technology, referred to as “telescreens”, manifested a society beholden to the ethics of the controller. This paradigm is perhaps more real than ever, according to an article by Reuters.
By exploring the views of Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower Christopher Wylie, the article advises that the deep, multifaceted involvement of big tech companies in consumers’ lives, the ultimate dependence that arises from such involvement and the overwhelming vulnerability of such consumers renders tech companies “too big to fail”. Wylie argues that the vast imbalance of power and information in favour of these companies over users is resulting in a constant scrambling by regulators to control the rapid adoption of such technology forms.Read More