The Australian Federal Police has launched a probe into the use of tracking devices on Australia and overseas.
Key points:The Australian Federal Government said it is committed to improving the transparency of the use and disclosure of data collected by government agenciesThe use of these devices is becoming more widespread in Australia, with some in Victoria and New South Wales already tracking citizens and others in NSW using a camera and GPS device.
The Federal Government is also launching an inquiry into the data that the Commonwealth Government collects and uses under the Data Protection Act.
The Australian Government has made it clear that it will not provide information on the use or disclosure of tracking data to the Commonwealth, and that no further information will be released until it has conducted a thorough review.
The Government said the use in Victoria is in line with the Privacy Act, which is designed to protect the privacy of Australian citizens and residents.
“The Commonwealth is committed, and has made, a strong commitment to the Privacy Amendment Act, including that all Commonwealth data collected will be made available to the public,” Minister for Information and Communications Stephen Conroy said in a statement.
“This includes the use, disclosure and use of data, whether collected through the use by a Commonwealth agency or by an individual.”
As the Commonwealth is responsible for the privacy and security of this data, it will continue to make that data available to a range of public authorities.
“In New South, the Australian Federal Council of the Australian National University said the Government’s use of a computer tracking device on public transport in Victoria was problematic and should be investigated.”
It’s a violation of privacy and of the Privacy Acts,” university spokesperson Kate Smith said.”
If you are on a public bus in Victoria, you’re not going to see a person, you’ve got a computer, and you’re just going to be on your own.
“Ms Smith said she was concerned that the use could be used by “an individual, an agency or an organisation to gather information about you or your activities.””
I think there’s a legitimate concern that the Federal Government could be using this to collect information about its citizens and potentially surveil them, and potentially their movements,” she said.
The Commonwealth has been criticized for its use of such devices.
The University of Melbourne’s David Coates said the Commonwealth was “doing a terrible job” of ensuring that people’s privacy was protected.”
They’re collecting information about Australians that has no bearing on whether or not they are compliant with the law or not,” Mr Coates told ABC Radio Melbourne.”
There’s nothing in the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act that prohibits them from using it to collect data about Australians.
“What it does do is allow them to share that data with third parties and third parties to use it to help them in their investigations, and so I think that’s a concern.”
I would be concerned about a Government that is doing that in a way that is actually giving Australians less privacy.
“Ms Conroy’s statement said the Australian Government was committed to making the data public.”
At the end of the day, the Commonwealth collects and shares information in compliance with the Data Privacy Act,” she told ABC News Breakfast.”
That data will be published and made available publicly.
“And in some circumstances, that information may also be shared with other authorities for the purpose of assisting in investigations and prosecutions.”
In Victoria, the use is growing, with Victoria Police in Victoria reporting the use was up by 25 per cent in the past year, compared to the previous year.
“Victoria Police is very pleased to see that there is increasing public concern and concern over the privacy implications of the way that the public is being tracked in the state,” Victoria Police’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Molloy, said in his statement.