The news this week is eclectic not just because it is Halloween. It is simply amazing because privacy has become so mainstream. We will move to the awful Halloween tales later, but across our region, privacy is top of the news. Health, off-shoring, avoidable child death, drones, copyright, data retention and abuse of power. It’s all here.
I write during the second reading speech for a bill that contains a package of reforms to prevent the further degradation of the investigative capabilities of Australia's law enforcement and national security agencies. The Telecommunications Interception and Access Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 would require companies providing telecommunications services in Australia, carriers and Internet service providers to keep a limited, prescribed set of telecommunications data for two years. Should we be afraid? Luckily, it looks like a vote won't come any time soon, but I can’t help but think of the wise words of Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” And it’s not entirely philosophical. There is quite a hefty impost on industry being predicted, especially through connected devices. Counterterrorism is top-of-mind as we prepare for the G20 in Brisbane, and sinister dark helicopters are becoming a common sight. And of course, we have the attorney general.
Recently, a small boy lost his life because people did not share what needed to be shared, calling to mind the Caldicott report. At the inquest, it became apparent that people knew about what was happening but were fearful of sharing because of privacy legislation.
As we foreshadowed, the annual report of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) activities in relation to eHealth 2012-2013 is now available, and the breaches in respect of the PCEHR loomed large this week. The big news was in health, the OAIC has contacted the AMA “to advise that in the near future it will be conducting assessments of a small sample of general practices who use the PCEHR system.”
Also in health, The National Law Review reports on the publication of standards for personal data in the cloud, and an op-ed for ITNews asks, “Would You Trust Telstra with Your Healthcare?” This week, Telstra announced a major investment into the development of its health business, but is our biggest telco facing an uphill battle to make money out of this new venture? The other major significant barrier Telstra faces is its brand perception with the public and whether they will trust the Telco with managing their health, and more importantly, the privacy of their data.
As for Halloween-flavoured stories, there is the Rupert Murdoch remotely piloted “quadcopter” drone. In the wake of News Corp's foundation-shaking phone hacking trial, the thought of Rupert Murdoch at the helm of his own spy drone is enough to make his critics break out in a sweat. And last Halloween it was a scary One Direction trick. This year, it's another band, the world’s most deleted band, taking the headlines. The backlash is something all businesses will be watching. U2 had a privacy nightmare, which has nothing to do with awful yellow-coloured glasses but rather pure and simple resentment at the invasion of privacy.
Enjoy your Halloween weekend, and I look forward to meeting you at one of our events soon!
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