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Asia Pacific Dashboard Digest | Notes from the Asia-Pacific region, 4 June 2021 Related reading: Notes from the Asia-Pacific region, 28 May 2021

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Hello, privacy pros.

I bring this week's update to you from Melbourne's fourth COVID-19 lockdown, and I hope it finds you all healthy and safe.

IT News highlights the landmark report issued by the Australian Human Rights Commission on Human Rights and Technology calling for a temporary ban on high-risk government facial recognition, mandatory human rights impact assessments for AI-driven government decisions, and the establishment of an AI Safety Commissioner, among other things. In contrast with the European Commission's recently proposed AI regulation, the AHRC's report stops short of recommending a strict regulatory regime for private sector use of AI, but it does advocate for laws requiring greater transparency over such use and clearer legal accountability and liability for decisions made by companies through the use of AI.

With so much focus on AI and potential AI regulation, our upcoming virtual IAPP KnowledgeNet, "What Privacy Professionals Need to Know About AI, Algorithms and Automated Decision Making," couldn't be more timely. The session is 15 June at 12:00 p.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time and is open to attendees across the region. Sydney KnowledgeNet Chair Keith Eyre will moderate an expert panel with Samantha Floreani and Anna Johnston of Salinger Privacy, University of Sydney Law School Professor Kimberlee Weatherall and Gradient Institute CEO Bill Simpson-Young. I hope to see you all there.

An article from the Australian Computer Society warns "Australia is becoming a surveillance state." Reflecting on the 1,300-page Richardson Review, which called for significant updates to Australia's aging surveillance laws, the article points to the government's proposed Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 as evidence of continued overreach and extension of state powers, rather than the more comprehensive overhaul that's needed. As author Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance."

The May edition of "Information Matters" from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner celebrates the record 629 supporters it had for this year's Privacy Awareness Week campaign to "Make privacy a priority." The update also notes increased funding for privacy and access to information in the 2021-22 federal budget, which will support the appointment of a new Freedom of Information Commissioner.

Elsewhere in the region, South China Morning Post reports China's Shenzhen Special Economic Zone is considering a regulation to prohibit apps from making personalized recommendations to users under 18. Beyond minors, the law would also require all apps to enable adults to opt out of profiling and personalized recommendations. The article notes Shenzhen's regulation is unlikely to pass before China's omnibus Personal Information Protection Law is finalized.

Finally, if you are interested in speaking (in person!) at the IAPP ANZ Summit 2021, the call for proposals is open until 13 June. This is a great opportunity to engage with the privacy community and help elevate our profession by sharing your knowledge.

Stay safe until next time!

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