Tag: data protection

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You’ve got mail…and lots of it according to the latest OAIC report!
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Utilize and Protect: 2020 AmCham Tech Panel explores complexities of the Data World
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“Totally Clueless”: Dating app Grindr reported for breach of privacy rules
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A JEDI Uses the Force for Knowledge and Defense: The Pentagon awards US$10billion JEDI cloud deal to Microsoft
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California’s answer to the GDPR – the California Consumer Privacy Act kicks in on 1 Jan 2020
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Uniformity of Law: NSW Government opens consultation to consider making Data Breach Reporting mandatory in respect of State Government Agencies
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Sorry Sir, Our Data Breach Response Plan is Out of Stock
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Who have you been giving your name and number to? A cautionary tale
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Thailand joins the party of legislated Data Protection
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To encrypt or not encrypt? That is the question

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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“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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A JEDI Uses the Force for Knowledge and Defense: The Pentagon awards US$10billion JEDI cloud deal to Microsoft

By Cameron Abbott and Tan Xin Ya

In October, the US Department of Defence (DoD) awarded the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to Microsoft to overhaul its IT infrastructure – a huge show of confidence in infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

The DoD’s award of the 10-year, $10 billion JEDI contract to Microsoft is an endorsement of the secure nature of Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing service. Under this deal, Microsoft’s task is to create a globally responsive network and monitor ongoing issues such as bugs and breaches. Part of the deal involves moving sensitive data, including classified mission operations, to Microsoft Azure. The system must be fortified with robust cyber security and encryption as Microsoft bears the important responsibility for the defence of the US.

The DoD’s decision to move to the cloud is a clear signal that IaaS has come of age, considering when such a security sensitive operation is able to use the service.

California’s answer to the GDPR – the California Consumer Privacy Act kicks in on 1 Jan 2020

By Cameron Abbott ,Tan Xin Ya and John ReVeal

In just a short few weeks, a monumental change of privacy regulations will kick in for US businesses. On 1 January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will come into effect, with a compliance deadline at the end of January 2020, and signifies a shift in tone in the privacy sphere for the US – with a move closer to global privacy norms, and away from the perspective that personal data is a company asset.

A series of data disasters such as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the massive Equifax breach left many Americans feeling powerless. Regulators stepped in after the fact to punish the companies, but at the time, there was little that U.S. consumers could do to prevent data breaches. Under the CCPA, Americans (well, Californians, mostly) move a step closer to general privacy protection. However, the Act only targets larger companies or those with prolific data use so there is still a long way to go to being general protection.

In October, the California Governor signed five bills to amend CCPA to provide some regulatory relief for businesses when the CCPA comes into effect. For a detailed analysis on the amendments, we refer you to Volume 2 of our colleagues’ Volume 2 of The Privacists available at the K&L Gates Hub.

Uniformity of Law: NSW Government opens consultation to consider making Data Breach Reporting mandatory in respect of State Government Agencies

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Anderson and Max Evans

We have blogged numerous times on the notifiable data breach scheme provided for in Part IIIC of Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) including more recently in relation to its success in assisting the preparedness of the health sector to report and respond to data breaches.

Whilst the NSW Information Privacy Commissioner recommends that public sector agencies notify it and affected individuals where a data breach creates a risk of serious harm, neither NSW privacy laws nor the notifiable data breach scheme require public sector agencies in NSW to provide such notification. There are many reasons for state government agencies to mandatorily report data breaches. Informing citizens when privacy breaches occur provides an opportunity for individual protection against potentially adverse consequences, whilst mandatory data breach reporting would address the current under-reporting of data breaches in NSW, which according to the consultation may be the norm.

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Sorry Sir, Our Data Breach Response Plan is Out of Stock

By Cameron Abbott, Michelle Aggromito and Max Evans

We are living in an era of online shopping, where consumers are more willing to hand over personal information for goods and services, and are less suspicious of whom they are divulging their personal information to. As a result, online businesses are in possession of a vast amount of their customers’ personal information. The recent hack of Sneaker Platform Stock-X reminds us yet again of the importance of businesses maintaining comprehensive and up to date security processes, and in particular, the necessity of having an adequate data breach response plan in place.

Stock-X, a platform for the re-sale of sneakers and apparel, was recently hacked, exposing over six million users’ personal data, including their real name, username, password, shoe size and trading currency. According to a Report by TechCrunch, Stock-X’s initial response was to reset customer passwords, stating that it was due to system updates. A spokesperson for Stock-X later disclosed to TechCruch that Stock-X was alerted to “suspicious activity”. TechCrunch reports; however, an unnamed data breach seller had contacted it claiming more than 6.8 million records were stolen from Stock-X in May, and that the records had been put up for sale and sold on the dark web for $300.

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Who have you been giving your name and number to? A cautionary tale

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

Have you inadvertently given the owners of global, searchable databases of phone numbers and associated names access to your entire contact list?

We suspect that you cannot confidently answer “no”.

In yet another tale of why you should read the terms of use and service of apps and other online products you download or sign-up to use, we’ve recently been exposed to the shock of having your name appear on a complete stranger’s phone, after they’re given your number (but not your name) to call you. We asked the question of how this could happen – and found the answer to be quite alarming.

The Samsung Smart Call function, which is powered by Hiya, boasts that it allows you to “deal with spam the easy way”, by letting you know who is calling you, even if their number is not saved in your contact list. In theory, this is a handy tool, and in the context of robocalls or other unsolicited marketing calls, doesn’t create any privacy issues. But when the database which powers the function contains the names and numbers of (we suspect) millions of private citizens, this becomes quite concerning.

So, how do private numbers (and the names of their associated users) come to be listed in databases such as Hiya? Well, for one, anyone who downloads the Hiya app is given the option to share their contacts. If they do, and your number is saved to their phone, your details will become part of the database. We have no doubt that many who download and use the Hiya app didn’t realise what they were signing up for (or what they were signing up their entire contact list for) – because they didn’t read the terms of use. This also begs the question – are companies like Hiya properly satisfying their privacy obligations merely by asking users to “opt in” to share their contacts?

Hiya is of course not the only “caller ID” app on the market – a quick search of the Apple App store reveals numerous other options for download – including Truecaller, Caller-ID, Sync.ME and CallHelp. In 2018, Hiya reached 50 million active users worldwide, while Truecaller’s website says it has over 130 million daily active users. Those figures of course would barely scrape the surface of the number of names and phone numbers held in their collective databases.

In case you’re wondering how much damage could really be done by a third party having access to your name and phone number – think about all of the things your number is linked to. Your Facebook, your Gmail, maybe even your bank account and credit cards. Information is power – and this is the kind of information that could easily allow hackers to wreak a reasonable amount of havoc. So before you sign-up to a new app, take the time to read the terms of service, because your use could not only be exposing your personal information, but that of your entire contact list.

Thailand joins the party of legislated Data Protection

By Cameron Abbott and Ella Richards

Following tireless attempts spanning over two decades, Thailand has finally approved the Thailand Personal Data Protection Act (“PDPA”), subject to royal endorsement and publication in the Government Gazette. Previously, the only right pertaining to personal privacy was located in the Thai Constitution, and while certain business sectors (such as telecommunications, healthcare and banking) had some protection, there was an absence of a singular consolidated data protection regime.

You may notice the broad similarity between the PDPA and the European Union’s GDPR; but don’t get too excited. Although various concepts have been drawn from the GDPR, the PDPA has been written with consideration of Thai perspectives, and therefor careful examination of compliance requirements of both regimes will be necessary.

Once the PDPA is published in the Government Gazette, Thailand will allow a transition period for businesses to adapt their practices (as the PDPA will apply to most entities onshore and offshore).

So, what can we do to prepare for the PDPA now?

Any company collecting data from residents of Thailand should ensure they’re in compliance before the PDPA comes into effect. Penalties for non-compliance will be severe, so an evaluation of business procedures will be necessary to determine if additional measures need to be adopted.

To encrypt or not encrypt? That is the question

By Cameron Abbott and Ella Richards

In response to the new controversial anti-encryption laws, Australian tech heavyweights have banded together to kick and scream over the restrictive implications the laws are already having on their industry.

Quick history lesson; the Assistance and Access Bill permit law enforcement to demand companies running applications such as Whatsapp to allow “lawful access to information”. This can be through either decryption of encrypted technology, or providing access to communications which are not yet encrypted. These ‘backdoors’ are intended to provide the good guys with the opportunity to fight serious crime, however there’s serious fear that in reality, these doors could throw out privacy or let in unwanted guests.

While the legislation states that backdoors should only be created if it doesn’t result in any ‘systemic weakness’; this is yet to be defined in a concrete and informative way. Industry points out that once created any such measure has the potential to be exploited by others. There is no such thing as a “once” only back door.

There is little doubt that this will end up in litigation as larger industry players challenge the abstract concepts in the legislation against the reality of their technology.

StartupAUS, an industry group of tech executives, have made several recommendations to amend the legislation. Even though they’re not holding their breath for any significant changes, they’re demanding more transparency around the requirements. Their recommendations include scrapping the requirement for an employee to build capabilities to intercept communications, tightening the scope of ‘designated communication providers’, giving oversight on how companies will be targeted and increasing what constitutes a ‘serious offence’.

Australia’s legislative response to the problem faced by law enforcement is one of the most heavy handed in the democratic world, and now has the world of technology companies with their significant impact on our economy watching the latest debate on reforms with great concern.

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