What should Australian companies be doing right now to protect our privacy

David Glance, University of Western Australia Australians are increasingly concerned about how companies handle their personal data, especially online. Faced with the increasing likelihood that this data will be compromised, either through cyber attacks or mishandling, companies are now being forced into a more comprehensive approach to collecting and protecting customers’ personal data. The question… Read More

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy.
That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: Comprehensive national face database incompatible with a free society

Australia’s leading privacy and civil liberties organisations condemn the decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to provide all images from state and territory driver’s licence databases to the federal National Facial Biometric Matching Capability.
These organisations are the Australian Privacy Foundation, Digital Rights Watch, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, South Australian Council for Civil Liberties and Electronic Frontiers Australia. Read More

Attorney General George Brandis declared “Villain” by Access Now for comments undermining encryption

Today, Access Now recognizes Attorney General George Brandis as a Villain among the annual Heroes and Villains Award recipients for his comments in opposition to strong digital security tools like encryption. As a leading official representing Australia in the notorious “Five Eyes” partnership, Attorney General Brandis has pushed publicly for requirements for companies to implement measures to allow law enforcement to bypass encryption protections for exceptional access to digital content. This type of access has been repeatedly demonstrated to undermine digital security globally, including and especially for the users in marginalized communities. Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: Big Brother Arrives By Public Transport

Are you going to kiss goodbye to your privacy every time you use a bus, train, or City Cat in Brisbane?
The Australian Privacy Foundation, the nation’s civil society organisation concerned with privacy, today strongly condemned proposals for biometric scanning of people using public transport in Brisbane.
Foundation spokesperson Dr Monique Mann said “comprehensive scanning will not work. It is not necessary. It is contrary to the right to privacy expected by all Australians”. Read More

Cross-border access to data – EDRi delivers international NGO position to Council of Europe

Earlier this week, a global coalition of civil society organisations, including the Australian Privacy Foundation, submitted to the Council of Europe its comments on how to protect human rights when developing new rules on cross-border access to electronic evidence (“e-evidence”). The Council of Europe is currently preparing an additional protocol to the Cybercrime Convention. European Digital Rights (EDRi)’s Executive Director Joe McNamee handed the comments over to Mr. Alexander Seger, the Executive Secretary of the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) of the Council of Europe. Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: Attacks on Encryption: Privacy, Civil Society and the Surveillance State

The Australian Government’s intention to pursue new and increased powers to access encrypted communications via statutorily required ‘backdoors’ has been met with wide-ranging privacy and information security concerns.
On 5 October 2017, a panel of encryption experts, international privacy law experts, academics, politicians, digital rights advocates, and journalists will unpack the social and technical consequences of the proposed new ‘backdooring’ powers. Read More

Kissing goodbye to your health privacy? Governments must work harder.

This week ID information from the financial records of over 120 million people in the United States was hacked – the latest reminder that IT security failure is a global epidemic. Health records are just as valuable to hackers. The current system for storing and using health records in Australia is hopelessly deficient. But with lousy data security, and a world where data breaches are a daily event, the Australian Government’s reluctance to fix this problem is looking negligent! Read More

Assassination by pacemaker: Australia needs to do more to regulate internet-connected medical devices

Wireless medical devices need greater security than, say, an internet-connected fridge. We need to ensure that information provided by the devices is safeguarded and that control of the devices – implantable or otherwise – is not compromised. Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration must learn to deal with software and cybersecurity, rather than simply bits of metal and plastic. Read More

Upcoming Event in Brisbane – Attacks on Encryption: Privacy, Civil Society and the Surveillance State

Join the Australian Privacy Foundation, Digital Rights Watch Australia, Future Wise, and the QUT Crime and Justice Research Centre at ThoughtWorks Brisbane office for a critical conversation about surveillance politics, international dimensions of privacy law, the contested moral legitimacy of encryption backdoors, encryption for journalists and current civil society campaigns in this area. Read More