Tag: privacy law

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Privacy Professionals download COVIDSafe App
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Uniformity of Law II: NSW Government pledges to introduce Mandatory Data Breach Reporting in respect to State Government Agencies
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Front and Centre: Privacy makes Front-Page, without a breach!
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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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You can be anonymised, but you can’t hide
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Canada proposes to increase penalties for tech giants in its Digital Charter
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When employee data does fall within the legal privacy net
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UK Information Commissioner Orders Cambridge Analytica to Hand Over American’s Personal Data

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.

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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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!

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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You can be anonymised, but you can’t hide

By Cameron Abbott, Michelle Aggromito and Karla Hodgson

If you think there is safety in numbers when it comes to the privacy of your personal information, think again. A recent study in Nature Communications found that, given a large enough dataset, anonymised personal information is only an algorithm away from being re-identified.

Anonymised data refers to data that has been stripped of any identifiable information, such as a name or email address. Under many privacy laws, anonymising data allows organisations and public bodies to use and share information without infringing an individual’s privacy, or having to obtain necessary authorisations or consents to do so.

But what happens when that anonymised data is combined with other data sets?

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Canada proposes to increase penalties for tech giants in its Digital Charter

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Gill

The Canadian federal government has proposed to introduce a combination of fines for companies that violate privacy laws, in order to rein in the growing power of Silicon Valley tech giants.

Canada’s Innovation Minister recently announced a 10-point Digital Charter that aims to provide more transparency into how companies collect and use personal information and stronger rights for consumers to consent to the use of their data. Key principles of the Charter include giving Canadians control over their data, promoting ethical use of data, ensuring that the online marketplace is competitive to facilitate growth of Canadian businesses, and implementing “meaningful penalties” for violations of privacy laws.

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When employee data does fall within the legal privacy net

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen and Georgia Mills

PageUp, a leading HR software support company has revealed it has fallen victim to a massive data breach, potentially compromising the personal details of thousands of Australians.  Boasting over 2 million active users worldwide and counting a roll call of major Australian companies together with a number of government agencies as clients, the breach may be the largest since the introduction of mandatory data breach notification laws in February (which we blogged about here).

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UK Information Commissioner Orders Cambridge Analytica to Hand Over American’s Personal Data

Cameron Abbott and Georgia Mills

The UK Information Commissioner has ordered UK-based firm Cambridge Analytica to hand over all the personal information it holds about an American academic, confirming the right of people to access the personal data held about them by a UK firm.  The academic initially approached Cambridge Analytica for it to explain what information it had gathered on him, and later complained to the Commissioner that the consulting firm had failed to share the entirety of its data on him nor explained how it accumulated the information it held.

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