Swiss Hacktivist was raided at the request of U.S. authorities for data theft and then publishing what was hacked.
Amazon has a special website that sets out its impact. The focus is on the impact of Amazon in the U.S. It is hard to find out what positive impact Amazon is having in Australia.
If you contract with AWS on their standard terms, unless you are located in one of a few listed countries, you are agreeing to U.S. law for the contract, and having to go to the U.S. for any disputes.
"Governing Laws" and “Governing Courts” mean, for each AWS Contracting Party, the laws and courts set forth in the following table: see https://aws.amazon.com/agreement/. I guess that provides jobs for U.S. lawyers!
The Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 has been subject to criticism It allows the government to hack into computers of people they think are bad people. Could innocent bystanders be impacted, just like when Microsoft did protective hacking about 8 years ago? See https://www.csoonline.com/article/2449572/microsoft-hammers-no-ip-collateral-damage-includes-hacking-teams-legal-malware.html
Details of the Bill are here:
The Law Council has released a 150 page criticism of the Bill.
Judge Robert Katzmann in a recent case wrote a 35-page dissent to part of the ruling, arguing that Facebook’s algorithmic recommendations shouldn’t be covered by the legal protections of Section 230.
Late last year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a call to hear a different case that would have tested the Section 230 shield. In a statement attached to the court’s decision, Justice Clarence Thomas called for the court to consider whether Section 230’s protections had been expanded too far, citing Judge Katzmann’s opinion.
Justice Thomas said the court didn’t need to decide in the moment whether to rein in the legal protections. “But in an appropriate case, it behooves us to do so,” he said.
It is hard to have a bad website taken down. In Australia, if the bad website is involved in copyright infringement, it is possible to have all Australian ISPs block the bad website, in effect making it disappear from the Internet as far as Australians are concerned.
That happened in recent Federal Court case, brought against Telstra and every other ISP in Australia, by a company that appears to operate a website for escort services. Someone hacked their website and made copies of it. The Federal Court blocked the copycat websites, using Section 115A of the Copyright Act.
See Gardner Industries Pty Ltd as trustee for the S M Gardner Family Trust v Telstra Corporation Limited  FCA 294 (25 March 2021) (Greenwood J)
Who really runs the Internet? A lot of companies you rarely hear about. A good article about the Internet and hate speech in the Washington Post.
A lawyer who is trying to track down the person who posted a bad review of her lost an application against Google, seemingly on the basis that she did not follow court proper procedures.
From The Age: Gangland lawyer Zarah Garde-Wilson says she will take a court fight directly to Google after the Federal Court dismissed her bid to force the search engine giant to reveal who was behind negative online reviews.
The Australian Privacy Commission made an award compensating individuals for non-economic loss for a privacy law breach. This was a first in Australia.
See https://www.oaic.gov.au/assets/privacy/privacy-decisions/privacy-determinations/WP-and-Secretary-to-the-Department-of-Home-Affairs-Privacy-2021-AICmr-2-11-January-2021.pdf and https://www.kwm.com/en/au/knowledge/insights/privacy-commissioner-hands-down-first-representative-award-20210203
The decision requires the Department of Home Affairs to compensate over 1,200 asylum seekers for inadvertently publishing their personal information online in 2014.
It is somewhat amazing that this case took seven years to reach this stage.
In response to the proliferation of ransomware attacks over the last five years, a series of United States Executive Orders and statutes have come to include cyberterrorists amongst the list of banned individuals with whom U.S. persons cannot conduct financial transactions. This impacts payments to cybercriminals for ransomware attacks.
There is a detailed article from a U.S. law firm here, that sets out when payment of a ransom could lead to breach of U.S. law. See https://www.friedfrank.com/siteFiles/Publications/NYLJ_03.05.21_Kleinman.pdf
Justice Keane of the High Court of Australia gave a speech at the end of 2020 that discussed privacy.
It was titled; "Too Much Information: civilisation and the problems of privacy" and argued that relying upon judicial development of the law to solve the problem of privacy "has been, at best, a hit and miss affair".
Justice Keane said it "would not be surprising were the High Court now to accept a tort of invasion of privacy" along U.S. lines.
"But such a cause of action would probably be confined to cases of intentional intrusion, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of an individual or his or her private affairs.
"In the case of the publicising of a matter concerning the private life of an individual, the conduct would be actionable if the matter publicised is of a kind that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and is not of legitimate concern to the public."
He noted that in the recent High Court case involving the Australian Federal Police raid on the home of journalist Annika Smethurst the media "carefully eschewed any attempt to press forward . . . towards a broader protection of privacy". (I suspect that the media did not want to expand the right of privacy in Australia even though it may have been helpful in this case - because the media since at least 1890 has been the subject of negative criticism regarding the media's lack of respect of privacy rights.)
Text of Keene J's Speech: https://cdn.hcourt.gov.au/assets/publications/speeches/current-justices/keanej/keanej27Aug2020.pdf
The Australian Government is implementing "Critical Infrastructure reforms". The consultation process for the new laws is being managed by the Critical Infrastructure Centre which is part of the Department of Home Affairs.
The CIC is currently assessing implementation of the governance rules to accompany the to-be-amended Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 (Cth) at a broad, industry-neutral level. The CIC is intending these rules to provide an overview of the role industry will play in self-assessment and self-reporting, with the specific rules and obligations around assessment standards to come from later consultations.
At a high-level, materials made available by CIC set out CIC’s intention for the governance rules including a breakdown of the intention behind specific provisions in the draft Bill.
- The Bill is not anticipated to pass until mid-2021 – while not all industry-specific rules may be finalised at that stage, consultation should be almost complete by then.
- Consultation with industry is happening on sequential basis – Electricity and Gas sectors are to start consultation in late March/early April 2021, and then other industries will each have a consultation period one after another.
- The consultation timeline will be quite aggressive – the governance rules are in consultation this week for publication in late March.
- The obligations will not activate immediately on enactment of the Bill, and are instead taking a ‘switch on’ approach. The CIC is vague on what the triggers for ‘switching on’ will be and it is not clear if it was an industry-wide event, whether it was incident-based or whether it would occur from a certain point.
Virginia in the USA recently passed a new privacy law.
A US law firm note is here: https://communications.willkie.com/103/1291/uploads-(icalendars-pdf-documents)/virginia-is-the-new-privacy-leader-what-s-next-after-virginia-passes-comprehensive-privacy-law.pdf and another is here: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/virginia-legislature-sends-novel-2533245/
The most recent issue of the Journal of the Australian Society for Computers and the Law is available here: http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/ANZCompuLawJl/recent.html
This journal includes articles on privacy law and cybersecurity law.
In January, the NY Times published a long article on Tech predictions for 2021. There was a section on privacy laws, that was U.S. focused but interesting reading. An extract:
Lawmakers will take on comprehensive federal privacy legislation. (Hopefully.)
Greg Bensinger, member of the New York Times editorial board:
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have indicated that they suddenly care about Americans’ privacy rights online. I am looking forward to them putting their money where their mouth is in 2021 by rolling out comprehensive federal privacy legislation.
Is this a pipe dream? Yes. But if anything good comes from backlash against technology companies, I hope it’s that consumers have more control over the rights to their own data.
About two years ago, Landmark White (a property valuation firm in Australia) was subject to a number of cyber security incidents. Justice moves slowly.
Landmark White’s cyber security standards will come under the spotlight this week, as the trial kicks off of an IT contractor accused of stealing customer data from the firm and putting it on the dark web.
The Federal Court of Australia has sided with the Patents Office and upheld a rejection of a patent application for an invention that improves the timeliness and accuracy of risk information. It was decided by the judge that the claimed invention was merely a business method or scheme for sharing and completing work place health and safety documents, and was thus unpatentable.
See Repipe Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Patents (No 3)  FCA 31 https://jade.io/article/783336
Amazon was refused a patent in Australia on the grounds that the invention was not patentable subject matter.
See Amazon Technologies, Inc.  APO 7 https://jade.io/article/785911
The patent application was directed to the field of computer resource virtualization. Providers, such as Amazon, manage large-scale computing resources that can be accessed on demand by their many customers via virtual machines. This allows various computing resources to be efficiently and securely shared by multiple customers.
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has recently published guidelines with examples for data breach notification under the GDPR.
The Guidelines set out common types of data breaches, such as ransomware, lost or stolen devices, social engineering attacks and the like, and set out case studies to clarify notification and remediation obligations.
The Australian Patents Office has decided that an AI machine cannot be an inventor for the purposes of granting a patent.
"Section 15(1) is inconsistent with an artificial intelligence machine being treated as an inventor, since it is not possible to identify a person who can be granted a patent."
Further, the person who operated the AI machine was also not an inventor:
"I have considered the alternative option that Dr Thaler is the inventor. It seems clear that Dr Thaler asserts that he did not devise the invention but merely acquired knowledge of the invention from the artificial intelligence machine. In the light of JMVB Dr Thaler would not be the inventor."
U.S. law firm Wilson Sonsini has a good summary of likely FTC priorities.
Potential key priorities:
- Requirements in privacy and data security consent orders that represent a departure from the FTC's typical approach to consumer notice and disgorgement, including requirements that companies "disgorge" the data and benefits that they amassed through their allegedly wrongful behavior, and provide notice to consumers of the FTC settlement and the conduct at issue in the settlement; and
- Increased FTC scrutiny of health apps, facial recognition technology, algorithms and AI, and other issues related to the pandemic and racial equity, particularly where those issues fall under the purview of the FCRA or ECOA.
Tech companies think the statute allows them to censor with impunity. The law is seldom so simple.
Read in The Wall Street Journal: https://apple.news/AykpuzRwHQJeQWQoc3GPxyg
Flight Centre organised a hack-a-phon in 2017, and gave those participating access to real customer data. This resulted in a breach of the Privacy Act.
On U.S. Election Day, 3 November 2020, voters in the State of California overwhelmingly voted in favour of Proposition 24—a ballot measure that creates the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). The CPRA revises and expands the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), creating new industry requirements, consumer privacy rights and enforcement mechanisms.
The CPRA's new obligations for businesses will come into effect on 1 January 2023. At that time, the CPRA will effectively replace the CCPA. In the meantime, the CPRA requires that a new California privacy agency be established and that it adopts implementing regulations.
Posting anonymous reviews to defame someone is risky.
Telstra has been ordered to provide documents to a doctor so that the doctor can assist identify someone who supposedly defamed him.
Telstra did not appear at this court hearing.
This is similar to this case against Google: http://www.cyberspac.com/2020/03/google-sued-again-for-identity-of-users.html and also these cases:
Titan Enterprises (Qld) Pty Ltd v Cross  FCA 1241 (patent attorney ordered to hand over file)
Titan Enterprises (Qld) Pty Ltd v Cross  FCA 890 (written by Justice Edelman, now on the High Court)
A wedding planner has won a 'landmark' court case against consumers who made defamatory comments about her business on social media.
But she suffered 'hurt and humiliation' when two Australian women began posting salacious comments about her and her business on Facebook in 2017.
They included accusations Ms Moy was unprofessional, bullied her clients and would try ruin her client's weddings.
See also this old Fordham article
See this article regarding the recent Seiko case in the High Court of Australia
A new set of rules for .au domain names will come into effect on 12 April 2021.auDA, the domain name regulator, states: "This new licensing framework helps maintain trust in the .au ccTLD, offers clearer guidance for registrants and registrars, and enhances auDA’s role as the guardian of a key piece of Australia’s digital infrastructure."
The new rules consolidate the more than 30 policies and guidance notes that currently govern the .au domain and consist of two key documents:
.au Domain Administration Rules: Licensing - The terms and conditions for .au domain name licences including the complaints and dispute resolution processes.
.au Domain Administration Rules: Registrar - Rules for companies providing .au domain name registration services that have been accredited by auDA.
The new licensing rules are based closely on the current rules but contain some changes that may impact a small number of registrants. You can read about these changes on our new website. These new rules were not reviewed by the Policy Review Panel.
Launch dates are yet to be set for id.au namespace, .au namespace and Internationalised Domain Names.
APRA is stepping up its focus on CPS234 in 2021. This is not a surprise. The Australian government has a strong focus on cybersecurity (and Defence, and foreign influence).
The Australian Human Rights Commission released a paper today on AI, bias and fairness. It is worth reading.
A Sydney hedge fund has collapsed after a cyber attack saw its trustee and administrator mistakenly approve $8.7 million in fraudulent invoices. Scammed by a fake Zoom invite.
The scam, the latest in a series of strikes by offshore criminal gangs against Australian fund managers, after the bank failed to stop almost $800,000 being withdrawn from an account linked to the cyber criminals.
Trivago, a price comparison, recent lost an appeal in Australia regarding how it ordered the listings on its affiliate program website. Trivago's conduct was held to be misleading, and therefore illegal, in Australia.
Can you give your User ID to someone else to use your account? And what if that someone then uses your account for a purpose not allowed by the user agreement? Are you responsible? This is the subject of a possible lawsuit against CoreLogic in Australia.
In addition to the privacy review, the government is conducting an AI review.
"The Australian Government recognises that accelerating the development, adoption and adaption of artificial intelligence (AI) will have profound social and economic outcomes for all Australians. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to strive for a better future. A future where Australians develop and use AI to solve national problems, build competitive businesses and increase our collective wellbeing.
To achieve this vision, the Australian Government will need a plan. To inform this plan, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has released a discussion paper that seeks public input to an AI Action Plan for Australia."
You can read the discussion paper and have your say at: https://consult.industry.gov.au/digital-economy/ai-action-plan
Submissions close on Friday, 27th November 2020, two days before submissions close for the privacy law consultation.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is supposedly being reviewed. From the NY Times:
Chief executives from Google, Facebook and Twitter appeared before a Senate hearing on a law that protects internet companies from liability for much of what their users post, and on how they moderate content.
Democrats focused on misinformation and extremism. They also accused Republicans of holding the hearing to benefit President Trump.
Republicans accused the executives of selective censorship, questioning Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, above, on how the company handled specific tweets. “Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear?” Senator Ted Cruz said.
The Australian Government is undertaking a complete review of The Australian Privacy Act.
Unfortunately, after a year of work, the government is only giving 4 weeks to make submissions in respect of a very detailed issues paper.
One topic for consideration is whether to legislate and create a privacy tort in Australia.
Further information available here.
How Police Can Crack Locked Phones—and Extract InformationA report finds 50,000 cases where law enforcement agencies turned to outside firms to bypass the encryption on a mobile device.
Read in WIRED: https://apple.news/Av8HKmpc-SIyx8vccKTIF2w
It was only a matter of time. The restaurant chain Wagamama has been reported to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for allegedly using contact details provided for Covid track and trace to send surveys to customers.
See The Times
An American who complained on TripAdvisor that a resort hotel in Thailand wanted to charge him a $15 corkage fee for bringing his own bottle of gin to the restaurant was arrested this month and spent a weekend in jail. If convicted of criminal defamation, he faces up to two years in prison. So don't write anything bad about the Sea View Koh Chang resort, which had the charges brought.
After a backlash, the resort had some regrets. “We agree that using a defamation law may be viewed as excessive for this situation,” the hotel acknowledged.
The newspapers are appealing the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal that decided that media companies can be held responsible for defamatory comments under stories they post on Facebook.
The Court of Appeal decision is not surprising. Compare prior cases:
A recent decision in Australia, concerning whether Facebook could be served in California, was decided by the Federal Court of Australia. This case arises out of a privacy action brought against Facebook by ACMA in relation to the Cambridge Analytics issues.
A recent dispute between two taxi companies confirms that a telephone number is not property and is not owned by the telco customer.
Compare this domain name decision: Multi-National Concepts Pty Ltd v. 1300 Directory Pty Ltd
The Office of the National Data Commissioner has released an exposure draft of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill for public comment. - https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-16/government-draft-law-share-personal-data-between-agencies/12666792)
More information and the draft bill is available here: https://www.datacommissioner.gov.au/exposure-draft/dat
The objects of this law are to:
(a) promote better availability of public sector data; and
(b) enable consistent safeguards for sharing public sector data; and
(c) enhance integrity and transparency in sharing public sector data; and
(d) build confidence in the use of public sector data; and
(e) establish institutional arrangements for sharing public sector data.
The UK Intellectual Property Office has announced a call for views on artificial intelligence and intellectual property. In particular, the UK IPO wants to hear about the implications that AI might have for IP policy, and, likewise, what impact IP might have on AI.
See the full consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/artificial-intelligence-and-intellectual-property-call-for-views
The consultation closes on 11 November 2020.
On Monday September 7, 2020, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) issued draft Guidelines 8/2020 on the targeting of social media users.
The Draft Guidelines have far-reaching implications for social media platforms, advertisers, and adtech companies, as they will result in a clarification of the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders, and establish rules for consent.
The New South Wales Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal in respect of a first instance decision of the Supreme Court that found a series of posts and comments about the former Mayor of the Narrabri Shire Council made on a Facebook page were defamatory.
The trial judge found that a comment endorsing a defamatory post was sufficient to attract liability as a secondary publisher of the defamatory post.
On Appeal, the court agreed that the principles of secondary publication are well established, and refused leave to appeal.
In a court hearing on Friday, 26 June 202, US-based Facebook has argued that it does not carry on business in Australia despite users in Australia accessing its website, calling for the dismissal of action brought by the Australian Information Commissioner over alleged privacy breaches and Cambridge Analytics.
The law had put the onus for analysing content solely on tech platforms such as Facebook without the involvement of a judge, within a very short time frame, and with the threat of hefty penalties.
Decision (in French of course)
NY Times article
"CCG members also noted the development of cloud security as an emerging risk area, and that data held in cloud environments should be encrypted and protected by appropriate intrusion detection/prevention controls. In some cases, it may be advisable to include “kill switch” technology, which allows for immediate disconnection to manage the risk of a cyber attack having a more widespread impact."
See NY Times Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/business/star-wars-may-the-fourth-disney.html
Swiss Hacktivist was raided at the request of U.S. authorities for data theft and then publishing what was hacked. https://amp.9news.com.au/...
The United Nations intellectual property agency (WIPO) is the latest front in the US-China trade war. http://www.theage.com.au/world/sad-am...
Carly Long, an expert in domain name litigation, will teach the first half of the class this Tuesday evening. You may wish to have a look a...
This website has some useful links and references: http://www.epiphanysolutions.co.uk/article-index/rights-and-laws-of-the-internet/