A farewell from the founding Chair

Four years ago, a group of academics, technology experts and activists came together in the meeting rooms of Thoughtworks Australia with a shared vision: to unite in their advocacy against the recently passed mandatory metadata retention laws. Much was discussed about the state of human rights in online spaces and the ramping up of attacks from conservative governments.  That meeting …

The Government Covid-19 Contact Tracing Smartphone App

A crowd using smartphones

last updated on May 10th prior to legislation being tabled previously updated on April 26th after the Government launched the app, and April 29th after comments from Stephen Conroy To expedite Covid-19 contact tracing in Australia, the Commonwealth Government has announced a new smartphone application will be in Google and Apple stores within a fortnight. This explainer on the privacy …

An introduction from DRW’s new Chairperson

by Lizzie O’Shea It’s an honour to take over as chair of Digital Rights Watch from Tim Singleton Norton. Tim has set an excellent example. A hard working, deep thinking digital rights activist, he has been a source of energy and good judgement at a time in which there was very little hope for those concerned about our human rights …

Timeline: national security legislation

Australia is on a worrying journey towards an increase in government surveillance, violating basic human rights and invading our everyday privacy. But in order to understand how we got here, we need to look at the sequence of events that have occurred over the past two decades.

PJCIS review of mandatory metadata retention

Pic: Christiaan Colen

Digital Rights Watch, Access Now and the Human Rights Law Centre provided evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security review of the mandatory metadata retention scheme. Alice Drury and Tess McGuire from the Human Rights Law Centre appeared before the committee.Ms Drury : We all want to live in a country in a democracy where we have the freedom …

Ban facial recognition surveillance

You are being tracked. On every street, in every park, as you sit at the train station or walk to work. Surveillance using face recognition technologies is on the rise, all across Australia. It’s being used by local councils, corporations, government departments and telecommunication companies – all without you even noticing. And it’s time that we reign in. Help us …

Australian Human Rights Award Finalist

Digital Rights Watch considers it an honour to be a finalist in this year’s Human Rights Community Organisation Award. This is an important recognition of the need for solid digital rights protections in this country. The defence of human rights in this country is, sadly, becoming incredibly important. The reality is that our rights have consistently been compromised by successive …

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 …

Help Stop the Sale of DOT ORG

It was recently revealed that the nonprofit that owns the .ORG domain registry was planning to sell it to a private equity firm, Ethos Capital. This could impact the millions of individuals and organizations that have a .ORG website, subjecting them to potential censorship and leaving the door open for price increases on domain registration and renewals. The .ORG top-level …

What is happening to Journalism & Julian Assange?

Wed 4 December, 6.30 pm Victorian State Library – Village Roadshow Theatrette on La Trobe St Kristinn Hrafnsson – Editor in Chief of WikiLeaks Suelette Dreyfus – technology researcher, journalist, and writer Julian Burnside QC – part of Assange’s legal team Lizzie O’Shea – lawyer, writer, broadcaster Recent raids on broadcasters, journalists and whistleblowers in Australia for precisely the kind …

Aaron Schwartz Day CryptoBars

We have an exciting line-up of speakers (see below). We’ll kick off the evening with drinks and pizza, followed by short talks from the speakers, then a relaxed hour in which attendees can move between “bars”. At each bar, attendees can get information or advice from friendly nerds on a topic related to keeping their stuff secure and private – …

WhyID: Protecting Our Identity in the Digital Age

Why ID image: Access Now

There is a generalised assumption that certain kinds of digital identity programmes empower users, especially those in marginalised populations, by giving them legal identification and access to public services. Digital identity programmes can provide some of the same benefits to users as conventional identity and can reap the benefits of scalability of technology. However, the scalability of digital identity programmes …

You’re up for a human rights award!

Digital Rights Watch has just been announced as a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Award.

We’ve got some amazing news to share with you. Digital Rights Watch has just been announced as a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Award. The Human Rights Awards is the pinnacle of human rights recognition in Australia. Each year the Human Rights Commission recognises the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations in promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms. …

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”. …

Digital rights meetup

If you are interested in privacy and digital rights, join us at the Mitre Tavern on 15 August for an informal meetup. Everyone is welcome to come along, meet the Digital Rights Watch team and discuss the issues currently facing the digital rights world. Where: Mitre Tavern, 5 Bank Place, MelbourneWhen: 5:30pm, Thursday 15 August Further details

Sticker competition

We’re running a sticker design competition and we want your designs!

XConf Australia

XConf is a one-day showcase of the latest thinking from ThoughtWorks’ tech community and provides a platform for passionate technologists who are looking for inspiration and a chance to network with peers. We’re extremely grateful to Thoughtworks, who are donating all ticket proceeds to Digital Rights Watch. Find out more about XConf here

A guide for defending encryption

In June 2019, Lizzie O’Shea was named as a Human Rights Hero by Access Now and received the award from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. This is an edited version of her acceptance speech. Thanks so much to Access Now for this wonderful award. It’s such a great initiative to support activists in the field doing …

Australian cities for digital rights

The internet has become inseparable from our daily lives. Yet, every day, there are new cases of digital rights abuse, misuse and misinformation and concentration of power around the world. We are seeing a real-world effect of technology creep on the privacy rights of Australian cities through the rapid expansion of surveillance technology in public spaces – often those directly …

Lizzie O’Shea declared “Hero” for mobilizing the Australian public against the government’s anti-encryption legislation

Today, Access Now announces its selection of Lizzie O’Shea, an Australian human rights lawyer, broadcaster, and writer, as a recipient of this year’s Human Rights Heroes Award. O’Shea is recognized for leading work to highlight, analyze, and protest expansive surveillance laws in Australia. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will present the award to O’Shea, as well as …