Category: Privacy, Data Protection & Information Management

1
A phishing pandemic – Part I
2
Doctor, how are we tracking? China, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand Using Smart Phone Applications to Halt the Spread of Corona Virus
3
Privacy in the time of COVID-19
4
This is your digital life (of no consent or control): The Australian Information Commissioner takes Facebook to Court
5
Front and Centre: Privacy makes Front-Page, without a breach!
6
You’ve got mail…and lots of it according to the latest OAIC report!
7
Utilize and Protect: 2020 AmCham Tech Panel explores complexities of the Data World
8
Hand Out of a Different Cookie Jar: Google to Eliminate all Third Party Cookies
9
Toll’d You So: Cyber Security Incident Cripples Toll’s Supply Lines, Causes Customer Backlash
10
New Decade, New Facebook? Facebook Reaches $550 Million Settlement in Facial Recognition Class Action, Agrees to Upgrade Privacy Safeguards

A phishing pandemic – Part I

By Cameron Abbott, Michelle Aggromito and Rebecca Gill

It’s upsetting to report, but should come as no surprise, that scammers are seeking to take advantage of organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch website reports that phishing attacks are on the rise, with scammers impersonating the World Health Organisation and other agencies. Scams include anything from offering victims a vaccine for COVID-19 to investment opportunities created by the pandemic.

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Doctor, how are we tracking? China, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand Using Smart Phone Applications to Halt the Spread of Corona Virus

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Max Evans

A slew of Asian countries have begun to use telecommunications networks, Smart Phone Applications and messaging services to assign, inform, track and/or monitor individuals which may have contracted COVID-19, including those which are required to undertake a process of self-isolation, according to articles from Wired, Channel News Asia and Bangkok Post.

In China, apps such as WeChat and AliPay have been utilised to assign individuals health codes, referred to as colour codes, to determine whether they should undertake a process of self-isolation. According to the NY Times a green code enables its holder to move about unrestricted, a yellow code asks the individual to stay home for seven days whilst a red code requires a two-week quarantine. In South Korea, government authorities have sent out texts detailing the movements of specific people infected with COVID in addition to using a smartphone app to ensure people who are required to self-isolate are staying home.

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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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This is your digital life (of no consent or control): The Australian Information Commissioner takes Facebook to Court

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham and Rebecca Gill

In a first for Australia, the Australian Information Commissioner (Commissioner) has launched proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia, seeking penalties against Facebook for serious and/or repeated interferences with privacy. The contraventions relate to the conduct disclosed by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which involved the This is Your Digital Life app (App). We’ve previously blogged about the App here.

It is unclear how the penalties will be calculated in this proceeding. The penalty rate applicable to the relevant period (being from March 2014 to May 2015) is a maximum of $1.7 million. Some have suggested that fines may be in the billions if the maximum rate is applied to each individual affected as a single “contravention” (with possibly over 300,000 contraventions in total!). This may be fun to calculate, but highly unlikely to be applied in reality.

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Front and Centre: Privacy makes Front-Page, without a breach!

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Max Evans

Privacy lawyers have been waiting for this day for years (some of us decades). Privacy is on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, despite there being no actual data breach. According to the article, Alinta Energy, one of the Australia’s biggest energy companies, is putting the privacy of its over 1.1 million retail gas and electricity customers at risk through poor privacy protections and a lack of proper oversight.

While this is an interesting piece of investigative journalism, what is really interesting is that privacy is now newsworthy even in the absence of a data breach.  It has been a long time coming but it seems society now rates privacy as front page news.  As our lawyers have already been pointing out in giving presentations this year – privacy has finally hit the big time!

You’ve got mail…and lots of it according to the latest OAIC report!

By Cameron Abbott and Michelle Aggromito

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.

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Utilize and Protect: 2020 AmCham Tech Panel explores complexities of the Data World

By Cameron Abbott and Max Evans

We all know by now that technology, and the data obtained and analysed through it, has changed the way the world works and in particular, the way we do business. However, at the first American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham) Tech Talk Breakfast for 2020, hosted at K&L Gates by our very own Cameron Abbott, it appears that a large portion of the business world is still lagging in terms of utilising its own data resources, understanding the power of data generally and the need to establish and implement appropriate and comprehensive security protections and processes. 

The four industry leading speakers, Martin Creighan of AT&T, Robert Le Busque of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Melissa Osborne of Dell Technologies and Matthew Payton of Datacom explored the immense volume of data businesses collect, and the gap in many businesses between their current utilisation and the maximum value held by such data. The speakers noted the importance of having a robust data analysis resource pool with which to effectively analyse the vast amounts of data a business carries in order to maximise the utility of such data in informing ongoing business decisions.

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Hand Out of a Different Cookie Jar: Google to Eliminate all Third Party Cookies

By Cameron Abbott, Max Evans and Florence Fermanis

Google is aiming to eliminate all third party cookies by 2020, according to a recent article by ABC Science.

‘Cookies’ have gained a somewhat infamous reputation beyond their sweet moniker. Third party cookies particularly are created by a party that is different to the website you are using, and are designed to help market a certain good to you as you surf across the web. Think of a pair of trousers you viewed once that now pop up in different advertisements across different websites. These are the sort of cookies Google wants to ban.

This comes amidst increasing demand by consumers for better privacy protection, according to Justin Schuh, Google’s director of Chrome Engineering.

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Toll’d You So: Cyber Security Incident Cripples Toll’s Supply Lines, Causes Customer Backlash

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen and Max Evans

Further information surrounding the specific details and extent of the security breach suffered by transport and logistics network Toll, which we previously blogged in respect of, have been revealed by the Australian Financial Review.

The crippling ransomware attack, known now as “Mailto” or “Kazakavkovkiz” caused Toll to suspend many of its delivery and tracking systems with a Toll spokesperson indicating that the company needed to suspend up to 500 applications that supported its operations across 25 countries worldwide. In Australia, entities such as Nike, Optus, and Telstra were forced to address a multitude of customer complaints arising out of packages affected by the relevant cyber attack.

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New Decade, New Facebook? Facebook Reaches $550 Million Settlement in Facial Recognition Class Action, Agrees to Upgrade Privacy Safeguards

By Cameron Abbott, Max Evans and Florence Fermanis

Facebook is in the news again, but this time it’s not for the Cambridge Analytica scandal that took over our screens in 2019. Facebook has agreed to pay $550 Million USD to settle a class action which claimed that it had collected and stored biometric information belonging to millions of users without their consent, according to reports by Reuters and TechXplore.

According to the reports, the relevant users alleged that Facebook illegally collected biometric data through its ‘Tag Suggestions’ feature, which allowed users to recognise Facebook friends from uploaded photographs.

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