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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Private Parts" [1994] PrivLawPRpr 44; (1994) 1(3) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 60

Private Parts

Compiled by Graham Greenleaf

DSS advertises data-matching

The Department of Social Security published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 16 March 1994 a ''Notice of Proposed Data-Matching Program', to ''check the past entitlements of family payment clients who failed to satisfy tax file number requirements of the Social Security Act 1991'. The Department allowed a month for comments on the program description, which it had developed in conjunction with the Privacy Commissioner

TIO's First Quarterly Report

The recently established Telecomm-unications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), Warwick Smith, held his first Quarterly Forum on April 15, to ''provide an open report to the community about the progress of the scheme and the issues we have encountered'. According to Grant Campbell, manager inquiries and complaints, privacy complaints were surprisingly high, given the range of other issues included such as billing, service quality, service provision and fault repair. Since March 9, when complaints categories were finalised, 77 of the 755 cases handled (10.2 per cent) concerned privacy, including instances of unwelcome calls, alleged release of silent numbers or release of information about calls made without the caller's consent. Unwelcome calls include both harassing calls and calls when no-one is on the other line. In one case, Telecom would not trace the source of calls where no-one was at the other end of the line because the calls were not seen as threatening. After TIO intervention, the calls were traced to an automatic alarm system which was mis-dialling. Newspapers have also reported cases, taken up by the TIO, where market researchers engaged by Telecom have allegedly been given information about the destination of a call, so that the calling party know about the quality of the call they made. The TIO is working with the carriers to develop guidelines

(From information provided by Holly Raiche)

TIO opts for opt-out?

In an article ''Telecommunications and privacy' in another IBC publication, Telecommunications Law & Policy Review (March 1994), TIO Warwick Smith concludes a discussion of calling number display (CND) by stating that ''the capability of a CND service to allow customers to opt out, on a selective per call basis or in a general per line way, would seem to offer sufficient customer protection remembering that the CLI information cannot be eliminated in any event'. He suggests that the TIO should handle complaints under a CND code of conduct

Changes at the Privacy Branch

Nigel Waters, head of the Australian Privacy Commissioner's office since its inception, has taken a one year appointment with the Administrative Review Council to head a review of the effectiveness of the Commonwealth's Tribunalssince the establishment of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in 1976. John Morison, Director, Compliance is acting head of the Privacy Branch while the temporary position is advertised. The other senior officers in the Branch are Lindy Smith (Director, Policy), Chris Milne (Acting Director, Compliance), Paul Kelly (Director, IT Standards), and David Thorpe (Manager, Complaints and Inquiries)

Electronic commerce seminars

A one-day seminar on electronic commerce, covering EDI, electronic banking and other aspects, with a session on privacy issues, will be held on June 17 (Sydney), June 20 (Canberra) and June 21 (Melbourne). The speakers will be US expert Ben Wright, and local authorities Diana Sharp and David Jonas. The conference organisers are Electronic Trading Concepts, tel (02) 264 1811 or fax (02) 264 1801. A two day conference on ''Cross Border Electronic Banking' will be held in Sydney on July 5 and 6, with a wide range of speakers. It is organised by IBC Conferences, tel (02) 319 3755 or fax (02) 699 3901

47,000 oppose Clipper chip

A petition signed by more than 47,000 users of the Internet was delivered to the White House on April 28 asking for withdrawal of the controversial Clipper cryptography proposal, developed by the BF and the National Security Agency. The Clipper plan would provide US government agencies with copies of the keys used to encode electronic messages, in effect allowing encryption only if the government has the keys to it. The petition drive, organised by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, occurred entirely across the Internet. It is the largest electronic petition to date, and is signed by many leading American cryptographers, users from nearly 3,000 Internet sites, signatories from more than 1300 companies, more than 850 colleges and universities and 150 non-profit organisations. Many responses came from public networks such as America Online and Compuserve. Nearly a thousand came from government and military sites including NASA, the Army and the Navy. A Time/CNN poll found that 80 per cent of the American public opposed Clipper. Congressional hearings will commence in May

The International Privacy Bulletin

The International Privacy Bulletin: The Newsletter of Privacy International, the international association of privacy advocates, is a valuable source of ''unofficial' news and opinion on worldwide developments in privacy protection, particularly in relation to countries outside Europe or North America. Published quarterly, one recent issue (October 1993, Vol 1 No 4) includes articles summing up privacy developments in South Africa, Taiwan, Croatia, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Australia, and Panama, on co-operation between privacy activists and privacy officials, and on the history of privacy advocacy bodies. Bulletinsubscriptions ($200 organisations, $50 individuals) or inquiries should be addressed to David Banisar, Editor, International Privacy Bulletin, 666 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 301, Washington DC 20003 USA; tel 202 544 9240; fax 202 547 5482; e-mail

US consumers invited to air views on data highways

The US Office of Consumer Affairs (USOCA) is holding public hearings of its Privacy Working Group in California and Washington, to obtain public views on the privacy implications of the proposed National Information Infrastructure (NII). The Clinton administration states that protecting privacy is essential to the NII's success. Inquiries can be faxed to +1 (202) 634 4135

'Global electronic gridlock'?

While on the subject of data highways, ''global networks must be able to accommodate different norms of governance' if we are to avoid ''global electronic gridlock' warns Joel R Reidenberg, Associate Professor at Fordham University, in ''Rules of the road for global electronic highways: Merging the trade and technical paradigms' (Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Vol 6, Spring 1993, 287-305). Among other matters, Professor Reidenberg is worried that Europe may attempt to impose its privacy norms on the US.

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