US Congress votes to repeal privacy protections for web users

March 29, 2017

The United States is a curious place when it comes to privacy protection.  There are four actionable torts protecting privacy and Federally there are a number of areas where privacy protection is quite stringent, notably health records.  Most states Read the rest of this entry »

Chair of Productivity Commission speech on Data Availability and Use…Report on the way significant impact on privacy.

The Productivity Commission’s long in gestation final report on data usage and access , Data Availability and Use, is about to be completed.  It will be handed to the Australian Government by the end of this month.  It is likely to presage a serious impact on privacy regulation.

There have been 211 initial submissions and 124 post draft submissions.

The chairman of the Productivity Commission, Peter Harris gave a very interesting speech on 22 March 2017 about the issues being considered by the Commission in the upcoming report.

The speech provides:

The Productivity Commission is in the final week of its inquiry into Data Availability and Use. Read the rest of this entry »

Another data breach involving Australian Government, this time involving the Federal MPS

March 21, 2017

Transparency is an important part of government administration.  That includes providing details of the costs of administration. To that end publishing the cost of the use of telecommunications devices by MPs is hardly controversial.  Unless of course it involves a significant breach of privacy, including a breach of the Privacy Act 1988.  The Department of Parliamentary Services did not Read the rest of this entry »

US Marine nude photo sharing scandal..bad and getting worse as massive privacy breach

March 18, 2017

The ongoing scandal involving the display of intimate (generally nude) photographs of female Marines by their fellow, male, marines on a secret Facebook page highlights the dangers of social media for breaching the privacy of others but also in demeaning and degrading women.

A Facebook Group, Marines United, would post photos of female marines, taken by the women themselves or their partners, without their consent.  So far 1,200 screen names have been identified, of whom 725 are active marines while 150 are in the Marine reserve.  The photographs were Read the rest of this entry »

CCTV trial in Queensland ringing privacy alarm bells

March 8, 2017

At the best of times Closed Circuit television (“CCTV”) needs to be used carefully, responsibly and proportionally.  The danger of function creep is present, particularly when CCTVs are tied to a network and run by government agencies.  The report today in the Guardian in Fears over trial of ‘1984’ surveillance system that anticipates antisocial acts highlights a highly suspect trial by Toowomba City Council to use facial recognition software and analytic software to potentially predict anti social behaviour. This story has had a run on the World Today.  The vagueness of the Toowoomba Mayor, Paul Antonio’s answers as to the future possible use of the CCTVs highlights the lack of transparency that accompanies these sort of “trials.”  Of almost as much concern is the fact that the Queensland Privacy Commissioner has not been consulted.  More like ignored even though the Information Privacy Act applies to local government.  That Commissioner has prepared, vague and inadequate guidelines, on camera surveillance which are likely to be breached if the commentary on the World Today story turns into account. In the UK, where CCTVs are ubiquitous, there is a code of practice and real consequences for its misuse.
Read the rest of this entry »

Yahoo’s misery from its 2014 continues with report that employees knew of breach at time of incident but not advising until 2016

The Yahoo security breach which resulted in 500 million customer emails being compromised will become a case study in what not to do when suffering a data breach, how not to Read the rest of this entry »

UK Information Commissioner’s Office fines HCA International Ltd for failing to keep fertility patient personal information secure

March 5, 2017

Health records are amongst the most sensitive of information.  Information about a person’s fertility treatment are an even more sensitive category of information again.  It is not surprising that when there is a failure to keep data secure the regulator would take a strong line.  At least in the United Kingdom. In Australia, the regulator has not taken a strong line yet on anything of substance.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (the “ICO”) fined HCA International Ltd (“HCA”) £200,000 for failing to keep records secure. The problem stemmed from Read the rest of this entry »

Privacy Commissioner and dating apps

February 14, 2017

Dating apps are notorious for both collecting a huge amount of highly sensitive personal information and being the subject of data breaches.  Ashley Madison data breach being just the most dramatic instance.

The Privacy Commissioner has issued a dos and don’ts on 4 dating apps, Tinder, Grindr, Happn and Bumble.  As far as it goes it is Read the rest of this entry »

Privacy Commissioner issues a response to the Mandatory Data Breach Notification legislation

The Privacy Commissioner has issued a statement regarding the passage of the Mandatory Data breach notification Bill.  The Privacy Commissioner has Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Exton & Anor v Extons Pty Ltd & Ors [2017] VSC 14 (10 February 2017): Oppressio and deadlincok sections 233 and 461(1)(k) and 467(4) of the Corporations Act 2001)

The Supreme Court, per Sifris  J, heard an application under sections 233 and 461(1)(k) of the Corporations Act 2001 in  Peter Exton & Anor v Extons Pty Ltd & Ors [2017] VSC 14.


Many oppression proceedings in the Corporations List involve family run companies.  Exton v Extons Pty Ltd is not unusual in this regard.  The First Plaintiff,  Peter, and the Sixth Defendant, Ian, are brothers. They each hold, either directly or indirectly, 50% of the shares in each of the companies that made up the Extons group. They are also directors of those companies [1].

The Extons group was commenced by Peter and Ian’s father and uncle in the 1950s, when it was started . It engages in earthworks, excavating and contracting in New South Wales and Victoria and occasionally sells machines including machines that it holds for the purposes of its contracting work [2].

Peter started Read the rest of this entry »