After severe criticism from the Australian government and others, Facebook has reversed its initial response to the controversial news media code of banning all Australian news on its platform, now stating that news and key pages concerning public health and government will be restored (although it has not provided a deadline for when this will occur).Read More
It hasn’t even been 10 days since our previous Blog on Zoom, which highlighted a number of privacy and data security issues prevalent in the use of the popular telecommunications software, and already further privacy issues have been alleged. Let’s put these allegations under the magnifying glass:
Disclosure to Facebook: Even If You don’t have an Account
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
A US federal judge has ruled that the 29 million Facebook users affected by the September 2018 data breach may not seek damages as a remedy, but can only pursue the enforcement of better security practices at Facebook, according to a report by Reuters. Judge Alsup of the US District Court stated that Facebook’s repetitive losses of users’ privacy indicated a long-term need for supervision, which comes in addition to prior judgment which indicated that Facebook’s views about user’s privacy expectations were “so wrong”.Read More
In his cautionary tale, 1984, author George Orwell spoke of a paradigm where the unregulated use of powerful technology, referred to as “telescreens”, manifested a society beholden to the ethics of the controller. This paradigm is perhaps more real than ever, according to an article by Reuters.
By exploring the views of Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower Christopher Wylie, the article advises that the deep, multifaceted involvement of big tech companies in consumers’ lives, the ultimate dependence that arises from such involvement and the overwhelming vulnerability of such consumers renders tech companies “too big to fail”. Wylie argues that the vast imbalance of power and information in favour of these companies over users is resulting in a constant scrambling by regulators to control the rapid adoption of such technology forms.Read More
Further to the Facebook and Tesco scandals, and the apparent statistic increase of enforcement fines issued, the Polish Data Protection Authority has issued a landmark fine of €645,000 against online retail company morele.net for insufficient security and organisational measures violating data confidentiality and integrity principles prescribed in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.Read More
Just a few months ago, we published an article on the criminalisation of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images in Western Australia. Only this week, there has been a second successful conviction under the Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Act 2018 (WA) (WA Act) in the Rockingham Magistrate’s Court.Read More
Until recently, a security vulnerability in the social media platform Instagram, allowed Hyp3r to illicitly harvest millions of Instagram users’ data and track their locations.
In a similar manner to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that plagued Facebook following the 2016 US presidential election, this latest example of Hyp3r’s mass data collection was discovered through a journalistic investigation and was not uncovered by the social media platform.Read More