December 6, 2013
The most recent Harvard Law review (Volume 127 November 2013) has published replies to 2 excellent earlier papers, The Dangers of Surveillance, 126 Harv. L. Rev. 1934 (2013) and Toward a Positive Theory of Privacy Law, 126 Harv. L. Rev. 2010 (2013). Those papers were delivered at a symposium on privacy law held earlier this year. All the papers delivered at the symposium were excellent. While the regulatory structure of US privacy law differs from Australia and there is a constitutional overlay there with the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments which are touchstones on some privacy jurisprudence (usually the most high profile cases) which is absent in Australia there is sufficient conceptual similarity for Australian practitioners of privacy law to obtain benefit in reviewing these papers. Technology moves apace around the world and the law in every jurisdiction is (sometimes) trying to catch up and grapple with the right balance on a range of issues, including freedom of expression, law enforcement etc..
The Dangers of Surveillance
The 32 page article is found here (in PDF format) The synopsis provides:
From the Fourth Amendment to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to films like Minority Report and The Lives of Others, our law and culture are full of warnings about state scrutiny of our lives. These warnings are Read the rest of this entry »
December 5, 2013
The increasing use of bring your own devices (BYOD) is a causing a very significant problem in maintaining data security and avoiding breaches of the Privacy Act. Often the BYODs are unencrypted; a USB stick, a flash card or just the memory on a phone or MP3 device. Easy to use and easier to lose track of the data. Or worse, to lose the data.
The Economist in Thief in your pocket? considers the dangers of using mobile devices and their weaknesses.
The article provides:
Mobile security: When it comes to mobile devices, viruses are not the problem they are made out to be—at least, not yet. Instead, the biggest risk for organisations comes from absent-minded or nefarious employees
GIVEN Read the rest of this entry »
The PM radio program does regular analysis pieces on various topical issues without being specific to a particular event. It is an excellent approach because while it is usually tied to a matter of recent interest it does not go stale with time.
In light of the Read the rest of this entry »
Data breaches in the health sector is an ongoing issue requiring close supervision. The information, usually of or relating to patients, is almost invariably highly confidential. And by definition sensitive information under the Privacy Act. In the UK a former manager of a GP’s Practice has been prosecuted for unlawfully accessing medical records of 1940 patients.
The ICO has Read the rest of this entry »
December 4, 2013
The rapid and exponential increase in the civilian use of drone technology highlights the inadequacy of privacy protection in Australia. Whereas American state legislatures are moving the fill the regulatory gaps regarding the use of drones in Australia neither Read the rest of this entry »
November 29, 2013
Today the ACMA commences a campaign on the usage of smart devices, especially phones, by youth and the consequences of oversharing. ACMA has set up a cybersmart website found here.
The media release (found here) relevantly provides:
It’s something all too obvious to parents of teenagers: how much life has changed in the last three years, let alone since they were teens. And with smartphones now in most teens’ pockets, using Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and hashtags, the ins and outs of social media can be Read the rest of this entry »
November 28, 2013
Public Books has reviewed a newly released book by Oxford University Press, Family Secrets: Shame and Privacy in Modern Britain. It is an interesting review of the development of the concept of privacy from its original concepts to the modern cause of action.
The review provides:
October 10, 2013 — Family Secrets by Deborah Cohen injects the marrow back into two centuries of skeletons locked away in household closets. A leading historian of modern Britain and Europe, Cohen has put together a rollicking read through the hidden land of cultural morality and its fundamental institution, the family. A son who prefers lipstick to lip balm might bring little shame to the family name today, but Cohen takes it as her project to explain how the secrets of the 19th century have been transformed into questions of privacy in the 20th. The sources of Read the rest of this entry »
November 27, 2013
The report UN backing universal privacy right highlights the concern and frustration over the phone tapping scandal arising out of the Snowden revalations. Germany and Brazil were particularly annoyed and sponsored the motion. It will of course have little practical effect.
The UN General Assembly’s human rights committee has unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by Brazil and Germany to protect the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance, following months of reports about US eavesdropping abroad.
The symbolic resolution, Read the rest of this entry »
Today I delivered a paper on Privacy and health records.
The topics I covered were:
Patient privacy and confidential record management Read the rest of this entry »
November 26, 2013
For those interested in gauging the approach of the Privacy Commissioner to his use of soon to be newly acquired enforcement powers his Read the rest of this entry »