Onus on Government to Earn Public Trust On Tracing App

Phone location

JOINT MEDIA RELEASEDIGITAL RIGHTS WATCHHUMAN RIGHTS LAW CENTRECENTRE FOR RESPONSIBLE TECHNOLOGY An alliance of digital rights groups urged the Morrison Government to fill in obvious gaps in the development of the tracing technology to give it its best chance of winning public trust. Today, the Morrison Government released the COVID-Safe tracing app asking all Australians to download the technology which …

Covid App Data Hosted Overseas is Vulnerable to US Law

Server Farm

Choosing Amazon Web Services to host the covid-19 contact tracing app data risks exposing private information about Australians to US law enforcement, Digital Rights Watch Chair Lizzie O’Shea. “Storing data with an AWS service exposes it to United States legislation which enables American law-enforcement agencies to access data stored on a US company’s servers. This could potentially bypass even the …

Another empty assurance from government can’t restore trust in Covid App

PM Scott Morrison

Attorney-General Christian Porter’s statement that the police will not have access to metadata from the government’s Covid19 contact tracing app is wholly inadequate, Digital Rights Watch chair Lizzie O’Shea said today. “There is huge public distrust in this proposal for good reason. We’ve had years of governments giving themselves extraordinary invasive surveillance powers, disregarding the meagre safeguards those powers came …

Guarantee Limits and Protections on Covid App or it will Fail

Phone location

After years of attacking personal privacy, it is little wonder that the announcement from the Federal Government of a location tracking app has been met with scepticism, Digital Rights Watch chair Lizzie O’Shea said today. “Without robust transparency processes around what data is collected and how it will be used, and unimpeachable guarantees that the data will be used for …

Government Must Come Clean On Phone Surveillance

The federal government must come clean about the nature and extent of its data aggregation from mobile service providers, Digital Rights Watch chair Lizzie O’Shea said today. “It’s deeply troubling that just a week after Prime Minister Scott Morrison outright denied any such activity, we learn that the Federal and NSW governments have received location data from a major telecommunications …

100+ human rights groups demand global governments not use coronavirus pandemic as cover for expanding digital surveillance

A global coalition of 100 human rights and civil liberties organisations have today united to tell world governments not to use the coronavirus pandemic as a cover to usher in digital surveillance. In a joint statement, the signing organisations urge governments to show leadership in tackling the pandemic in a way that ensures any use of digital technologies to track …

Personal privacy must be protected during the coronavirus epidemic

The government must not expand their use of dangerous untested technology during this emergency, digital rights experts have warned today. “We’re already seeing reports from the US and elsewhere that governments are deploying untested and intrusive surveillance technology on their population. We are deeply concerned that government agencies in Australia will try to do the same here under cover of …

Bipartisan contempt for human rights continues to drag Australia into a police state

Digital rights experts have today revealed how continued bipartisan passage of national security legislation through federal parliament has caused a generation-long weakening of Australians’ fundamental human rights. “It’s appalling to see the breadth of legislation that has been passed over the past 20 years, all of which has had a devastating impact on the human rights of everyday Australians,” said …

Clearview AI Data Breach – Another reason for moratorium on the use of facial recognition technologies

The Clearview AI data breach reveals that Australian law enforcement agencies are using the company’s facial recognition tools for identification purposes without any oversight or privacy protections, digital rights experts have warned today.  “We should be deeply concerned that our police forces are using Clearview AI’s facial recognition technologies here in Australia without any accountability or oversight,” said Digital Rights …

Breach of trust shows metadata retention scheme must be repealed

Image: Brian Klug

Digital security advocates have expressed outrage at revelations that Australian law enforcement agencies have been potentially abusing mandatory metadata retention laws and receiving data explicitly excluded from the legislation. “It is incredibly worrying to hear that government agencies have been receiving extensive details of Australians’ web history with no oversight or accountability, potentially undermining the already minor protections that were …

Online disinformation risks public confusion about the cause of Australia’s bushfires

Digital rights experts have expressed deep concern at emerging evidence that suggests there is an intentional disinformation campaign creating confusion around the cause of Australia’s tragic bushfires. “It is disappointing that during one of Australia’s most tragic disasters, social media platforms are being used to create confusion about the causes of the fires,” said Digital Rights Watch Chair Tim Singleton …

Open Letter to Law Enforcement in the U.S., UK, and Australia: Weak Encryption Puts Billions of Internet Users at Risk

Pic: iStock.com/fatido

Today, Digital Rights Watch joined 101 other signatories in releasing an open letter to law enforcement officials in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia expressing grave concerns with the countries’ recent statements about encryption. These officials penned a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on October 4, 2019 asking Facebook to delay the implementation of end-to-end encryption across its messaging …

Major amendments to encryption laws are a step in the right direction

A coalition of human rights organisations, telecommunication industry and technology companies have today commented on the proposed amendments to the TOLA (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, tabled today in the Senate by Senator Kristina Kenneally. “It’s welcome to see the introduction today of Labor’s proposed amendments to these deeply flawed laws – a long-overdue edit to this fundamentally bad legislation,” …

Police drones on public beaches are a gross privacy violation

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Privacy experts have hit out at reports that Victorian Police plan to operate camera surveillance drones on public beaches over the upcoming holiday period. “This is a gross violation of privacy for anyone visiting a Victorian beach over the summer break,” said Digital Rights Watch chair Tim Singleton Norton. The 2017 Guidelines to Surveillance and Privacy in the Victorian Public …

Local governments need to act to protect the privacy of their citizens

Australian Cities For Digital Rights

Digital Rights Watch has launched a new campaign targeting Australian local governments over their use of surveillance technology, data collection and privacy invasion. “We are seeing a real-world effect of technology creep on our privacy rights in Australian cities through the rapid expansion of surveillance technology in public spaces – often those directly managed by local government authorities,” said Tom …

Open Letter: Facebook’s End-to-End Encryption Plans

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg, OPEN LETTER: FACEBOOK’S END-TO-END SECURITY PLANS The organizations below write today to encourage you, in no uncertain terms, to continue increasing the end-to-end security across Facebook’s messaging services. We have seen requests from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australian governments asking you to suspend these plans “until [Facebook] can guarantee the added privacy does not reduce public safety”. …

Australian digital rights organisations defend encryption

Image: CC Licensed Flickr user ijclark

Digital Rights Watch and Access Now have expressed deep concerns about attempts by members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to convince Facebook to abandon its plan to introduce end-to-end encryption in its messaging services.  “End-to-end encryption is like a lock on a door. It is a basic requirement for security in any form of online communication in the digital …

Attorney General having discretion over prosecutions will do virtually nothing for press freedom

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

Digital Rights Watch has criticised a recent move by the Australian Government to allow Ministerial decisions over the prosecution of journalists. “Australia already lags behind when it comes to press freedom. We are the only democracy on the planet that has not enshrined the right to a free press in our constitution or a charter of rights,” said Digital Rights …

Major privacy concerns around national facial recognition database

CC Licensed image from Flickr User Jay Phagan

Digital Rights Watch have welcomed a move by the Victorian Government to control federal agency access to driver’s license photographs uploaded to the national facial recognition database. “There is a severe lack of strong oversight mechanisms and general enforcement for human rights and civil liberties in this country, which results in the public being understandably wary about giving government more …

Global coalition warns against internet shutdowns in Hong Kong

After months of pro-democracy protests in the streets of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, leader of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government, has finally withdrawn the proposed extradition law that sparked them. But as Bloomberg reports, that’s not likely to stop the protests. Lam has not relented on key demands of the protesters, and is refusing to investigate police violence. As …