Tag: app

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Privacy Professionals download COVIDSafe App
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It’s Trace Time! The COVIDSafe App is open for business – Part II
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It’s Trace Time! The COVIDSafe App is open for business – Part I
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Let’s Track This Through: Tracking Data at the Epicentre of Efforts to Stop COVID Outbreak as Federal Government Considers Implementing Opt-In Mobile Application
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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
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“Totally Clueless”: Dating app Grindr reported for breach of privacy rules
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Nissan shakes like a LEAF and disables app after car hacking potential exposed
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Privacy concerns over Westfield’s ticketless parking system

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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Let’s Track This Through: Tracking Data at the Epicentre of Efforts to Stop COVID Outbreak as Federal Government Considers Implementing Opt-In Mobile Application

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

We previously blogged about the plethora of Asian countries who are using telecommunications networks, smart phone applications and messaging services to inform, track and monitor individuals who may have contracted COVID-19. It appears that Australia’s eyes are on similar technology opportunities, as according to an article from the SMH, the Federal Government will ask Australians “within weeks” to opt in and sign up for a mobile application that uses tracking data to alert individuals as to their risks of contracting COVID-19.

According to the article, the relevant application will monitor the movements of participants to inform individuals whether they have been close to someone already infected with COVID-19. The application also has the functionality to enable someone who has contracted the virus to notify health authorities and ensure that an alert is sent to anyone he or she has been in contact with over the previous 24 hours. Both of these processes are part of what is known as “contact tracing”.

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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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“Totally Clueless”: Dating app Grindr reported for breach of privacy rules

By Cameron Abbott, Max Evans and Florence Fermanis

Dating apps, for many young people, are a fact of life. Meeting someone these days in real-life rather than through a simple swipe right appears to have become the exception, belonging more to any number of 90s teen “romcoms” than it does to real life.

According to an article by Reuters however, in recent times dating app Grindr has been the subject of a complaint by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) in relation to a breach of privacy rules as set out in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, implemented in 2018.

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Nissan shakes like a LEAF and disables app after car hacking potential exposed

By Cameron Abbott and Meg Aitken

Lock you doors…oh wait, that won’t protect you. Australian security researchers, Troy Hunt and Scott Helme have exposed a security flaw in Nissan’s Connect app which allows certain features of the manufacturer’s best-selling electric car, the ‘LEAF’, to literally be controlled by someone else on the other side of the world.

Hunt and Helme recently discovered that the app did not require any owner identification information in order to link with and control LEAF cars. All that was required was the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is conveniently displayed on the chassis of the vehicle.

OK, so hackers couldn’t actually steer the car, but they could command the climate control and telematics to access driving data about trip durations, raising privacy concerns. Further, given that the LEAF is an electric powered vehicle, being able to access the climate controls could potentially allow a hacker to drain the battery and leave a driver stranded.

Car companies are racing to embrace the internet of things, and privacy and security seems to be taking a back seat. While there is no doubt that connected car technology boasts exciting functionality for drivers, it is not without road bumps, and we are once again reminded of the dangerous potential presented by interconnected devices. With a bit of luck, Nissan’s scare will see the automotive industry get in the driver’s seat towards developing a better appreciation of the risks associated with these devices and how they can be mitigated.

Nissan has now reportedly disabled the NissanConnect app and plans to release a new version once these security concerns are rectified. According to Hunt’s blog post, it took Nissan more than a month to take the app offline after he reported the security vulnerabilities.

Read Troy Hunt’s blog post on the discovery here.

Privacy concerns over Westfield’s ticketless parking system

By Cameron Abbott, Meg Aitken and Shirley Chen

Westfield has sidelined the SMS feature of its ticketless parking system this week due to concerns it breached Australian privacy laws.

Westfield’s newfangled ticketless parking system attempted to make parking quicker and easier for shoppers by scanning car number plates on entry and exit of their carparks, and sending an SMS notification to registered parkers recording their entry time and an alert message when their free parking time was nearly up. To register for the service, users were merely required to provide a name, license plate number and phone number (with no verification).

Privacy experts raised the alarm that any person could register false details and track another person’s physical location via the SMS notifications. This was a particular worry for those in domestic violence situations and could also potentially enable stalking or thieves to determine when homeowners had left their houses. The feature’s Terms and Conditions failed to address any of these issues.

The SMS service is currently suspended as internal investigations are conducted, though the rest of the ticketless parking system and app continue to operate.

Learn more about the ticketless parking system here.

Read the ITNews report on the issue here.

 

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