Showing all posts tagged: privacy

Stalkerware users should be watching themselves, not others

21 March 2024

Sydney based Australian author Kerri Sackville, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, on the subject of stalkerware, insidious apps that track the activities of a person you want to keep tabs on:

But I had nothing to gain from spying on him because I already knew what to do. In intimate partnerships, the desire to spy can only mean one of two things: that something is terribly wrong in your relationship, or that something is terribly wrong with you. If it’s the former, the solution is not to dig up answers; the solution is to get out of the relationship.

But trust, or lack thereof, isn’t necessarily why people use stalkerware apps. They sometimes also seek to control and coerce those they are monitoring. To them, it has little to do with trust. It’s more about rampant entitlement. They somehow feel as if they have every right to spy on someone, and as such are completely oblivious to the wrong they are doing.

Something is indeed terribly wrong with such people.


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Privacy warning: your car may be monitoring your sex life

12 September 2023

The Mozilla Foundation, which is part of the same organisation that produces the Firefox web browser, and the Thunderbird email client, recently examined twenty-five car brands, and found consumer privacy left — to put it mildly — much to be desired. In fact, the foundation discovered cars to be in the “official worst category of products for privacy” that they had ever seen:

Car makers have been bragging about their cars being “computers on wheels” for years to promote their advanced features. However, the conversation about what driving a computer means for its occupants’ privacy hasn’t really caught up. While we worried that our doorbells and watches that connect to the internet might be spying on us, car brands quietly entered the data business by turning their vehicles into powerful data-gobbling machines. Machines that, because of their all those brag-worthy bells and whistles, have an unmatched power to watch, listen, and collect information about what you do and where you go in your car.

Not only did the majority of car brands that were studied collect large quantities of personal data, they were also highly inclined to on-sell that information. But there’s more. Some car brands were found to be gathering information about the “sexual activity” of customers. In other words, if you’re thinking about having sex in your vehicle, think again. Your car may be monitoring, and recording…


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Security of Australian TikTok users data queried by senator

5 July 2022

In the wake of a request from the United States Federal Communications Commission that Apple and Google remove TikTok from their app stores, James Paterson, an Australian opposition senator, has raised concerns about the security of Australian TikTok users’ data, in a letter posted on Twitter.

Even though TikTok servers are based in America and Singapore, there are fears Chinese government officials may have access to the data of Australian TikTok users.

Australian users’ data is stored in servers in the US and Singapore, which raises questions about whether that data is subject to the same security concerns. Liberal Senator James Paterson has publicly put it to TikTok to address those concerns. “Australian TikTok users deserve to know whether their private information is equally exposed,” Mr Paterson wrote on Twitter.


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Some Australian retailers collect facial recognition data

16 June 2022

Consumer advocate organisation CHOICE has found three major Australian retailers have been collecting facial recognition data, something that is probably news to many of their customers.

CHOICE staff members also visited some of these stores in person as part of the investigation. Bower says the Kmart and Bunnings stores they visited had physical signs at the store entrances informing customers about the use of the technology, but the signs were small, inconspicuous and would have been missed by most shoppers. The collection of biometric data in such a manner may be in breach of the Privacy Act.

We’ve probably all seen the notices at the entrances to the stores advising the practice takes place, but it is doubtful most customers have read them. In their defence, one of the retailers claims the technology is being used to “prevent theft and anti-social behaviour.”

This may be so, and businesses are entitled to protect their revenue, customers, and staff, but it is the clandestine nature of the practice that is alarming customers, some of whom are threatening to shop elsewhere. There are warnings though that more stores will turn to collecting facial recognition data as the technology becomes more accessible, so, unless future legislation says otherwise, it looks like conduct that Australian consumers will have to get used to.

In the meantime, retailers should make notifications more prominent, along with information about how to locate their data retention and privacy policies. For instance how long is such data retained, and who exactly has access to it? Retailers need to remember the vast majority of consumers are after all doing the right thing by them, and are deserving of more respectful treatment.