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Just as democratic rights were the big idea at the beginning of the 20th century, so human rights are the big idea of the century we have recently entered. They have the potential of radically affecting the way in which we relate to each other as nations and as next door neighbours. Human rights is where the law becomes poetry. — H. Kennedy

It’s marvelous when serendipity happens. Crossing the Story Bridge on a fine crisp Brisbane morning, I was pondering on what this week’s privacy theme should be. ABC Radio’s “National AM” show answered with a great discussion on the ethics of texting, or more accurately, sexting. Victoria is taking the lead and introducing Australia’s first sexting laws. The laws criminalise the sharing of explicit images of another person without that individual’s consent. The essence is giving people enforceable rights to control the use of their personal information, a significant human right.

Across the world in a similar vein, discussion ensues in respect of the ethics of big data. “Consumers should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their data,” U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in an interview. “They don’t want to be left in the dark, and they don’t want to be surprised at how it’s used.” However, as Cornell University Prof. Jeffrey Hancock, the author of the Facebook emotion contagion research suggested, “Companies will not willingly participate in anything that limits their ability to innovate quickly … so any process has to be ‘effective, lightweight, quick and accountable’.” The fact so many felt violated may well impact the future.

Bringing power to the people, or at least making steps toward a more practical identity model, NSW has selected a consortium of vendors to implement an Identity Hub, which will manage all NSW government user identifications held in physical databases and the cloud. The project is expected to improve password security and reduce costs for the government. "The project will allow de-duplication of identities across the various agencies to ensure a user has only one identity within the NSW government. This will help improve data security," Computerworld reports. The same theme of single-platform identification and transaction-based information models is the feature of an ITWire story on Hubcare.

For those of you not yet weary of the metadata debate, there is a story on how the Parliament Library Report states Telstra has provided URLs in the past. Taken with our communication minister’s statement that telcos will only be providing what they have in the past, this has given rise to yet another spot-fire about what exactly is intended by the proposed legislation.

Meanwhile the Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner has been busy. There is the investigation into Centrelink, the release of a revised Guide for Data Breach Notification just hours ago and, of course, the consultation period for the revised Information Security Guidelines, which closes next Wednesday, 27 August.

We celebrated World Humanitarian Day on Tuesday, and I hope you all find some poetry in what you do over the weekend. Loved meeting the Melbourne bunch on Monday night and look forward to events in the other states over the coming weeks.

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