ABC conversation hour on privacy

October 19, 2012 |

On 17 October 2012  Jon Faine undertook a forum on privacy.  The web page is found here.

The page provides as follows:

Are you under surveillance, and do you care?

Twenty-five years ago there was a massive public campaign against a proposed national identity card – the ‘Australia Card’.

But how many so-called ‘smart’ credit cards or ID cards do you carry with you now, every day?

Information and photographs that used to be private are now shared without a second thought in cyberspace, on twitter and facebook.

Following recent events in Melbourne, including the death of Jill Meagher, there have been calls for more CCTV cameras particularly around inner-city nightclubs and pubs.

But on the other hand, just about everything from your phone bill to your frequent flier account requires us to phone a call centre and give endless passwords, proof of identity and permission for a voice recording. The checks can be infuriating.

Have we got the balance right?

Joining Jon Faine for this special forum today was our expert panel:

Helen Versey is the former Privacy Commissioner for Victoria (she finished in the role in March this year).

“I think there’s gaps still in the law… individuals having a statutory right of action for breach of privacy,” she told Jon.

Tony Zalewski is the Director of Global Public Security. A former police officer, he recently completed his PhD in crowd control.

“There would not be many businesses these days who do not have some form of surveillance strategy in place… cameras inside and outside,” he said, “typically used more as a post-incident investigative tool… the research is very clear that surveillance cameras in particular have very little impact on crime.”

And Professor Spencer Zifcak is the President of Liberty Victoria. He’s also Allan Myers Professor of Law and Director of the Institute of Legal Studies at the Australian Catholic University.

“If you look at the number of invasive technologies that are now in use or proposed, it seems to me that we are progressively sleep-walking into a surveillance society,” he told the panel.

Thanks to our participants and to you, for sharing your thoughts and experiences.



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