Category: Government Regulation, Legislation & Enforcement

1
Trust but verify: Independent report on Australia’s “anti-encryption” legislation released
2
OAIC and UK ICO announce joint investigation into Clearview AI
3
EU Court of Justice Invalidates Privacy Shield
4
Click your “e-John Hancock” onto that: COVID-19 helps the Australian Government clear the way for electronic execution under section 127(1) of the Corporations Act
5
Privacy Professionals download COVIDSafe App
6
It’s Trace Time! The COVIDSafe App is open for business – Part II
7
It’s Trace Time! The COVIDSafe App is open for business – Part I
8
“This is a public health app, it’s not a surveillance app”: Review finds “nothing particularly disturbing” about the Federal Government’s coronavirus tracing app
9
Privacy in the time of COVID-19
10
Uniformity of Law II: NSW Government pledges to introduce Mandatory Data Breach Reporting in respect to State Government Agencies

Trust but verify: Independent report on Australia’s “anti-encryption” legislation released

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Gill

The ability of a government to force a technology provider to create a “back door” into their technology to allow security agencies to “listen in” to communications is a very controversial step, but it has not been the subject of much discussion as any recipient of such intervention is gagged. 

It was interesting to see that the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor has released a report on its review of the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 (Cth) (TOLA Act). The review considered, and provided recommendations on, the operation, effectiveness and implications of the TOLA Act and whether it is necessary, is proportionate to the threats it seeks to meet and treats human rights properly.

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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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EU Court of Justice Invalidates Privacy Shield

By Cameron Abbott, Claude Etienne-Armingaud, Rob Pulham, Michelle Aggromito and Keely O’Dowd

On the morning of 16 July 2020, in a significant decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the Privacy Shield was held to be invalid.

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Click your “e-John Hancock” onto that: COVID-19 helps the Australian Government clear the way for electronic execution under section 127(1) of the Corporations Act

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham and Warwick Andersen

Temporary amendments to the Australian Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) took effect on 6 May 2020, making it easier to facilitate company meetings using remote technology, and providing some certainty as to companies’ execution of documents electronically under section 127(1) of the Corporations Act.

The Corporations (Coronavirus Economic Response) Determination (No. 1) 2020 (Determination) allows company meetings such as AGMs to be held using technology rather than face-to-face meetings, and enables a quorum, votes, notices and the asking of questions to be facilitated electronically. For a more in-depth look at these changes, see “Operating a Business During COVID-19: The Implications for Public Companies” by our colleagues Harry Kingsley, Kaveh Zegrati, and Alex Garfinkel.

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Privacy Professionals download COVIDSafe App

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham, Michelle Aggromito and Allison Wallace

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.

It’s Trace Time! The COVIDSafe App is open for business – Part II

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Michelle Aggromito

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.

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It’s Trace Time! The COVIDSafe App is open for business – Part I

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Michelle Aggromito

The Commonwealth Government released its COVIDSafe App for download at 6.00pm AEST on Sunday 26 April, and it surpassed 1.13 million downloads within the first 12 hours. This was far greater than expectations, with Health Minister Greg Hunt commenting that, at best, the hope was that “we might get to 1 million in five days.”

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“This is a public health app, it’s not a surveillance app”: Review finds “nothing particularly disturbing” about the Federal Government’s coronavirus tracing app

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham, Michelle Aggromito and Rebecca Gill

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.

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Privacy in the time of COVID-19

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham, Michelle Aggromito and Rebecca Gill

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.

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Uniformity of Law II: NSW Government pledges to introduce Mandatory Data Breach Reporting in respect to State Government Agencies

Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen and Max Evans

Following on from the consultation opened by the NSW Government in July 2019 (the subject of a previous blog), NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has committed to introducing a mandatory data breach scheme, according to an article by ITNews.

At present, neither NSW privacy laws nor the notifiable data breach scheme under Part IIIC of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) require public sector agencies in NSW to notify the NSW Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals where a data breach creates a risk of serious harm. This led to a consultation conducted by the Department of Communities and Justice in late 2019, which revealed “overwhelming public support” for the introduction of a mandatory data breach scheme in NSW, with the NSW Government “sharing a view” that the relevant scheme should be introduced.

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