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Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest | Notes from the iappANZ President, November 7, 2014 Related reading: EU, Japan adopt mutual adequacy decision on data transfers

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At a seminar on litigating media privacy cases hosted by Gilbert+Tobin, the final speaker concluded that “Things are really hotting up in privacy.” Privacy still has a bad reputation, or is at the very least misunderstood by many as simply compliance, but I agree, it is getting exciting. When you’re reading in your airline magazine about the importance of privacy, over say Fiji, as in “The data diaspora” in Qantas, things are changing. It is finally being called a business issue and not an IT issue, and the significance of Neilsen’s 2014 Australian Connected Consumer Report is being taken seriously by business.

“Technology is the brutal companion of efficiency,” according to Bernard Salt, and this week Helen Trinca talks of our new values and how technology is the new dividing line: If you are under 30, digital is in your DNA; under 40 and you will have absorbed it, and after that, a person’s ease with technology is more variable. All the more reason to make sure that CIOs educate and empower people to understand and make better security decisions, and to have examples come from the C-suite.

How can people call privacy boring? The data retention debate is just fascinating; sometimes depressing, but never dull, balancing as it does two fundamental human rights. There is also the interaction of this with the copyright law and how the data retention regime will interact with the government’s crackdown on copyright violation. Spurr vs Matilda pits the right to know against the right to privacy, and one speaker at the Gilbert+Tobin seminar declared that without a vigorous and free press, we will become another Zimbabwe. A compelling debate, and one our expert panel, led by Richard Ackland, will be discussing at the Summit.

The privacy health issues this week continue to be around the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record. Not just because the breaches reported last week continue to play out in the media, but due to the controversial decision to have pathology results uploaded into the system before the doctor may have had the opportunity to review them with the patient. Control over health information and the balance between efficacy and the dangers of inappropriate disclosure are the subject of extensive research reported on this week in Pulse IT. There are a range of views on this in Australia and overseas.

If you are interested in how the privacy commissioner and the ACMA  work together and avoid duplication, see the memorandum of understanding they have entered, and of course the Freedom of Information Amendment (New Arrangements) Bill 2014, which will abolish the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, will be subject to a Senate Hearing this coming Monday.

Across the ditch in New Zealand, we see more evidence of a pragmatic and effective approach to data breaches in the Commissioner’s Blog: “This is a move away from a rights based (legal) approach towards an interests based approach … We need to recognise that even where there has been an interference with privacy, there may be a relationship that needs to continue. Simple intervention giving each side a chance to speak with people works. A ‘compulsory conference’ may not sound inviting, but signs are, they are working.”

People talk about the dangers of privacy breaches and a literal example of this in respect to publication of a family law judge whose personal details were published in the White Pages. The family law court murders in the ‘80s make this a very real fear.

Looking for a novel? Look no further than Amnesia. Peter Carey, the double Booker prize winner follows the cool guys and takes to writing about … privacy! … and cyber-terrorism and a hacker in a rage-against-the-machine novel.

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