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 …

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 …

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 …

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.

Submission to consultation on a new Online Safety Act

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has been asked to run a public consultation over a new Online Safety Act to improve Australia’s online safety regulatory framework. The proposed reforms follow a 2018 review of online safety legislation which recommended the replacement of the existing framework with a single Online Safety Act. Digital Rights Watch provided our …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Valentine’s Day CryptoBars

Keep your privates private and share your love securely … come spend Valentine’s eve with loveable nerds who will help you secure your stuff! Get on down to one of the CryptoBars happening around the country! We’ll kick off the evening with drinks and pizza, followed by short talks, then a relaxed hour in which you can learn from friendly …

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 …

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 …

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,” …

It’s Time to Throw Off Our Digital Chains

Discussions about digital privacy often evoke images of whistle-blowers, journalists, and intelligence agencies. But beyond this, it can sometimes feel as though the business model of corporate data mining presents few negative consequences in our daily lives. The omniscient machinery of state surveillance is rarely an issue visited upon us personally. Amazon, Google, and Facebook are overwhelmingly convenient, well-designed platforms …

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 …