OAIC and UK ICO announce joint investigation into Clearview AI
UK telecoms company handed record fine for data breach
Ashley Madison Hackers Release User Data

OAIC and UK ICO announce joint investigation into Clearview AI

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Keely O’Dowd

On 9 July 2020, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced they have opened a joint investigation into the personal information handling practices of Clearview AI Inc.

The OAIC has stated the investigation will focus on ClearView AI’s use of “scraped” data and biometrics of individuals.

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UK telecoms company handed record fine for data breach

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Murray

Major UK telecoms company, TalkTalk has been fined £400,000 for failing to adequately safeguard personal data when they were hacked in October 2015. The Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) investigation revealed that hackers obtained the details of 156,959 customers, including names, addresses, birthdates, phone numbers and email addresses. In over 15,000 cases, hackers even gained access to bank account details and sort codes. The cyber-attack triggered the launch of a committee inquiry into protection of personal data online. You can read the inquiry report here.

After in depth investigation, the ICO found that TalkTalk’s failure to implement even the most basic cyber security measures allowed hackers to easily penetrate its systems causing substantial damage and distress to its customers. See how the investigation unfolded here and read the ICO’s penalty notice here. The ICO identified TalkTalk’s principal errors as failing to actively monitor its own activities and allowing vulnerabilities to go unnoticed, failing to update its database to protect from bugs, failing to respond to two previous attacks on the same webpages and failing to fix a bug in the software for which a fix was readily available.

It would seem regulators are losing patience with organizations that don’t take their security obligations seriously.

Ashley Madison Hackers Release User Data

By Cameron Abbott and Melanie Long

On 19 August 2015 the group known as ‘The Impact Team’, who a month earlier hacked into online affair website Ashley Madison, made good on its threat and released a “data dump” of Ashley Madison users’ personal information. A second and larger release of stolen data occurred 2 days later and appears to have included emails sent by Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison’s founder and CEO of parent company Avid Life Media.

Following the release of the stolen data, acting Australian Information Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, announced the launch of an investigation into the breach which is to be conducted in liaison with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (where Avid Life Media is based). On 28 August 2015 Noel Biderman stepped down from his role as CEO of Avid Life Media.

Read the ABC news’ article in relation to the first data release here.

ABC news’ article relating to second data release can be found here.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s press release relating to its investigation can be found here.


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