Tools for More Secure Activism

CounterAct encourages the progressive and radical movements on the Australian continent to get better at digital privacy and security

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”. …

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 …

Breaking: press freedom in Australia

In June 2019, the Australian Federal Police raided the ABC and the home of a journalist from the Daily Telegraph. These alarming raids were undertaken because of journalists doing their jobs reporting on national security issues in the public interest, in part enabled by whistleblowers inside government agencies. This was just the latest step in what has been a steady …

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 …

INSLM Review of the Assistance & Access Act

Pic: iStock.com/fatido

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence & Security (PJCIS) has referred the Assistance & Access Act 2018 (TOLA) for review by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. This review will specifically consider whether the Act achieves an appropriate balance: whether the Act contains sufficient safeguards for protecting the rights of individuals and remains proportionate and necessary. Digital Rights Watch and …

Invisible handcuffs

Copyright Eric Carter/The Baffler

The regulation of technology capitalism is now a mainstream topic of discussion. Privacy scandals such as the misuse of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica, the rise of right-wing extremism, and the diminishing quality of public spaces in the digital age have generated sufficient public outcry such that the Overton window is wide open. Aspirants for the Oval Office, like Senator Elizabeth …

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 …

Privacy advocates welcome ACCC report into loyalty reward schemes

Privacy advocate group Digital Rights Watch today welcomed a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on customer loyalty cards, which called into question the privacy protections provided to consumers under such schemes. “The data protection elements of consumer loyalty schemes has always been of great concern to us, and so it’s welcoming to see such a strong statement …

Submission to Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Submission inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

Digital Rights Watch and Blueprint for Free Speech provided a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Submission inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press. Read the full submission here.

Internet shutdowns in West Papua are within Australia’s responsibility

Internet shutdowns in West Papua are within Australia’s responsibility

Following reports that internet access has been shut down in West Papua, Digital Rights Watch has called for urgent intervention from the Australian government. “There is a serious lack of quality information about the ongoing unrest in West Papua because the Indonesian authorities have blocked internet connectivity to the province,” said Digital Rights Watch Chair Tim Singleton Norton. “To witness …

Doctors, Lawyers, and Privacy Experts Denounce Sharing Patient Health Data for Secondary Use

Following the HealthEngine scandal in 2018, and the recent use of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data to assist recruitment into research on Bipolar disorder, a Twitter user on Friday 23 August shared a SMS message attempting to recruit him into a clinical trial.   This appears to have occurred through the use of a health data platform. Research by digital rights …

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

Australians are increasingly concerned about expansion of surveillance powers

Pic: iStock.com/fatido

New polling shows that Australians have a high level of concern over legislation that has made it easier for the Government and law enforcement agencies to access their private personal digital information. The polling, commissioned by Digital Rights Watch and undertaken by Essential Research, has revealed:      76% of people expressed concern that telecommunication companies retain data on every Australian. …

Sticker competition

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

Facial recognition expansion requires urgent review

Photo by timothy muza on Unsplash

Following reports that individuals are being forced to use facial recognition software in order to access government solar rebates, Digital Rights Watch have called for an urgent review of the rapid expansion of the controversial software. Victorians are being required to use Service Victoria’s new facial recognition system as an alternative to the traditional 100-point paper-based identity check, to prove …

Sweeping metadata laws must be scaled back

Amidst reports last week of the extraordinarily high rate at which the Australian Federal Police accessed the communications history of journalists, the Human Right Law Centre, Digital Rights Watch and Access Now have called on the Morrison Government to urgently reform metadata laws. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is conducting a review of controversial metadata retention laws …