The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and State and Territory privacy commissioners have produced universal privacy principles to support a nationally consistent approach to solutions and initiatives designed to address the ongoing risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These high-level principles provide a framework to guide a best practice approach to the handling of personal information during the pandemic by government and business. Read the Principles here.
The Victorian Information Commissioner’s report into the delay in disclosure of government documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) was recently tabled in the Victorian Parliament. Between 2015 and 2020, the proportion of FOI decisions made on time in Victoria declined from 95% to 79%. The investigation examined the extent and causes of delay at agencies, which included resourcing issues, process, technology, culture, communication and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the report here.
COVID-19 has brought to the forefront the importance of real-time accurate data for scientists to analyze and model and for government leaders to make decisions on. InfoGovANZ has complied a series of COVID-19 curated articles and resources, updated monthly. June 2020 OVIC has released new guidance on how the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act should be applied. OVIC has updated the FOI and COVID19 FAQs for agencies – read them here – to include questions about the new COVID-19 regulations including: what to do if your agency is completely shut down; and how to verify an applicant’s identity. Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner (OAIC) has updated it’s FOI FAQ with the latest COVID-19 relevant questions including how to make an FOI complaint during the COVID-19 outbreak. May 2020 Australian and New Zealand Information Access Commissioners join with their international counterparts in their clear call for documentation, preservation and […]
While Australia and New Zealand were able to flatten the COVID-19 curve, the approaches of each country have somewhat differed, both in relation to the level of restrictions imposed on citizens, as well as the type of contact tracing technology deployed. Australia and New Zealand stand alongside Germany, South Korea and Singapore as examples of countries that followed the advice of their scientists and moved into lockdown in a timely way to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Australia, similar to other countries, experienced a doubling of COVID-19 positive people every two days as it went into lockdown. The containment of the coronavirus in Australia and New Zealand is a result of a multipronged strategy that includes prompt lockdowns restricting movement and requiring social distancing; quarantining of international travellers for 14 days; and a high rate of testing and contact tracing. The governments of both countries have developed their […]
There have been a variety of perspectives on the COVIDSafe app released on 26 April 2020 and the CovidSafe Act enacted on 14 May 2020. Professor Peter Leonard from UNSW Business School in ‘Novel coronavirus spawns novel law-making in Australia‘, looks at the consultative process that resulted in data governance and data accountability in the CovidSafe Act to ensure that the data collected would be safe from other arms of government for other purposes. Visting Professor Roger Clarke at UNSW Law has looked at early user-experiences of the app and questioned the ability of the app to achieve its aim – read his two articles here and here. In ‘The COVIDsafe APP: A Case Study in Professional Responsibility‘, Professor Clark sets out the role and onus of IT professionals to be realistic about the app’s limitations. Professor Greenleaf and Dr Kemp from UNSW Law, in ‘Austalia’s COVIDSafe Experiment, Phase III: […]
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health launched the NZ COVID Tracer app on 20 May 2020, in a move welcomed in a statement by the NZ Privacy Commissioner. You can read the privacy impact assessment here. Living in a world with COVID-19 means greater requirements to register your presence wherever you go. But what does that mean for your privacy? NZ Privacy Commissioner John Edwards speaks about good policy when it comes to protecting people’s privacy in any technical solution to contact tracing in this interview.
To celebrate Information Awareness Month (IAM2020) and Privacy Awareness Week (PAW2020), we kicked off with an online panel discussion on the myriad of Information Governance issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our panellists included – Melanie Marks, Christopher Colwell, Sonya Sherman, Dr Peter Chapman, Matthew Golab and the discussion was facilitated by Susan Bennett. The importance of connectivity and of access to trusted information, the role of fit for purposes systems to capture records during a crisis and accountability for decisions made during the pandemic period were all highlighted. Discussion around the COVIDSafeApp emphasised that privacy by design and governance of data are key for user trust. A key focus of the discussion were increased information security and cybersecurity risks with the move to working from home. These include the risks of data leakage, data breach, shadow IT and cyber-crimes. In summary, the discussion emphasised that the myriad of information, records, […]
COVID-19 has brought to the forefront the importance of real-time accurate data for scientists to analyse and model and for government leaders to make decisions on. A number of articles have highlighted the importance of data and privacy, including Australia Considers How to Approach Pandemic Contacts Tracing by Jeremy Kirk, Executive Editor for Security and Technology, Information Security Media Group.
Stay at home requirements during COVID-19 have led to a dramatic increase in video conferencing for both work and maintaining social connections with family and friends. The adoption of video conferencing tools over the last weeks has been impressive but it calls into question whether are most users aware of the data and privacy implications of using these tools. NYOB, an EU based not-for-profit with the mission of making privacy a reality, has carried out a review of the privacy policies of six video conferencing tools: Zoom, Webex Meetings (Cisco), Meeting (LogMeIn), Skype and Teams (both Microsoft) and Wire. Report on privacy policies of video conferencing services – 2020- NYOB
Below is a collection of useful privacy and data protection resources from the EU, US and globally. Data Protection Authorities guidance on COVID-19 published by Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) collated by International Association of Privacy Professionals. These provide information and frequently asked questions on data processing and COVID-19 across a range of countries. Resources page on crucial privacy and data protection law issues arising from COVID-19 covering the EU & globally by Law, Science, Technology & Society of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The Initiative is of direct interest for LSTS researchers, most notably in the context of the Brussels Privacy Hub (BPH) work on data protection in humanitarian action as well as the work of ALTEP-DP project. US Privacy and Data Protection Resources related to COVID-19, together with other international resources has been compiled by the Future of Privacy Forum.
In Australia, COVID-19 was declared a ‘human biosecurity emergency’ under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (C’th) on 21 March 2020. Dominic Villa SC has set up a useful collection of Australian legal resources relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Collating together the various statutory instruments that have been enacted by the Commonwealth and State Governments to deal with COVID-19, such as the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 (NSW) and similar orders in other states. In New Zealand, COVID-19 Response (Urgent Measures) Legislation Act 2020 is an omnibus Act to put in place for the necessary arrangements in order to implement COVID-19 Alert Level 4, or where arrangements are essential to respond effectively to COVID-19. The Law Society has published a COVID-19 Information page for legal practitioners, listing relevant NZ resources.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) has created a webpage collating government approaches responding to COVID-19. The open government community is focused on applying the principles of transparency, accountability and participation to the COVID-19 response. The webpage contains a crowd sourced list from a wide range of countries with a variety of initiatives, including: the release of theoretical models and data underpinning governments’ strategies; digital platforms and apps to keep citizens informed; and efforts tackling misinformation and disinformation online. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from national and local governments to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Formed in 2011, its members now include governments from across 78 countries and thousands of civil society groups, representing more than 2 billion people worldwide. Open government strives to provide transparency and accountability to the public, […]