Does Google Maps New Update Breach Our Privacy?

Google Maps have announced their latest feature that allows for a user to share their location with others, by tracking their location in real time on the map. While the app aims to assist its users , the question lies whether the feature enables privacy concerns? Joining me on the line to discuss how the new feature can be abused, is Katina Michael, Associate Dean at International Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at University of Wollongong.

Produced by Brooke Taylor

Personal Information Entrusted to Government Leaked to the Public

Podcast available here 

Centrelink and Veterans Leak Sources:



Centrelink Leak

Veterans Leak


Privacy Act 1998 Overview

Privacy Act 1998 Quick Ref.

Social Security Act 1991

Veterans Affairs Legislation Amendment (Digital Readiness and Other Measures Bill 2017)

Data matching program:

Australian Privacy Principles include:

APP 1 — Open and transparent management of personal information

APP 2 — Anonymity and pseudonymity

APP 3 — Collection of solicited personal information

APP 4 — Dealing with unsolicited personal information

APP 5 — Notification of the collection of personal information

APP 6 — Use or disclosure of personal information

APP 7 — Direct marketing

APP 8 — Cross-border disclosure of personal information

APP 9 — Adoption, use or disclosure of government related identifiers

APP 10 — Quality of personal information

APP 11 — Security of personal information

APP 12 — Access to personal information

APP 13 — Correction of personal information


Citation: Katina Michael speaks with Trevor Chappell "The release of personal files from Centrelink and Veterans Affairs to journalists recently and some of the ramifications of this", ABC Radio - Overnights Producer Michael Pavlich. 4.20am-5am, 22 March 2017.

Robotics Cleaning Technology at Australian Shopping Centres

Vicinity Centres is considering replacing some of its cleaning contractors with robots in a bid to automate and save costs, according to one of the company's non-executive directors, Wai Tang.

In a roundtable discussion ahead of International Women's Day, Ms Tang said disruption and volatility in the sector had led to many changes.

Vicinty Centres, which manages shopping centres around the country, had recently started trialling whether robots could be used to clean its centres.

But such a move, if it was formally implemented, would "displace many jobs", she said.

More here 


The bot in question is Cleanfix. The product is made by Teksbotics that also makes Pepper, iCub, and other small humanoid robots with AI. Cleanfix has 11 sensors on board.

Standard company blurb includes:

The robotic technology being trialled is a hands-free system that incorporates 11 sensors, giving the robot a 360-degree view of its surroundings, and allowing it to operate and clean autonomously. Advanced navigation and sensors detect obstacles as well as people - stopping to let them pass before proceeding.

The award-winning Cleanfix RA 660 Navi is specifically designed for hard floors and is ideal for shopping centres as it scrubs and vacuums independently, reduces the need for chemicals and uses water more efficiently which significantly lowers its impact on the environment.

Other sources:

Citation: Katina Michael and Jon Faine, "Robotics Cleaning at Australian Shopping Centres: is it a good idea?" ABC Radio Melbourne: Mornings, 7 March 2017.

Social media monitoring apps shine spotlight on internet addiction

Report by Jusin Huntsdale, ABC Illawarra

Social media monitoring apps targeting programs like Facebook and Instagram are revealing alarming habitual behaviour and extreme levels of smart phone use.

You may not realise it, but you are probably reaching for your smart phone with high frequency.

It just takes a free app to give you the cold, hard statistics.

"If you ask people to report on how often they use their smart phones, they may under report or they may be missing information and consider themselves average users," University of Wollongong technology expert Professor Katina Michael said.

"We see others on smart phones at train stations, bus stops and at work and we think it's become a normalised activity."

Professor Michael is an ambassador for a free app called Anti Social, which not only displays time spent on social media, but also the number of times a user unlocks their home screen and compares the data to other demographics.

She said people are usually shocked at the results.

"It's aimed at everyone because no-one is immune to smart phone addiction or any form of internet addiction," she said.

The demographic most at risk

Professor Michael said she was most concerned about adolescents' social media use.

Not only are they exposed to the risk of addiction, there is also the fear of missing out on seeing things that are posted to social media.

Technology is also a compulsory part of their education as tablets and computers are used to access school resources.

"We are seeing a huge wave of technology into our education systems, and it's allegedly supposed to be bettering our literacy levels and our maths and science skills, but what we see is the increase of technology actually decreases students' ability to read and speak to others clearly," she said.

"We are seeing younger children exposed to [electronic] tablets without any nuanced control of what media literacy is.

"Most psychologists — including one of the famous ones — Kimberly Young [who specialises in internet addiction] says there should be zero screen time between the ages of birth and three."

Professor Michael said statistics showed many young people were spending a cumulative 3.5 hours per day on social media, and it is not surprising that many are either not completing homework or are struggling with assessments.

"I think more and more adolescents are considering that the pressures of social media are so vast that it's best to get off," she said.

"[Young people] need to be connected and feel they can't be disconnected, and a quarter of our teens are constantly connected and send about 150 texts per day."

PHOTO: Social media monitoring apps are revealing interesting statistics about people's social media use. (ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)


How to address the problem of social media addiction

Apps such as Anti Social work on the assumption that people are aware of social media addiction and want to do something about it.

However a large proportion of the population who have a social media addiction are likely to not even know it.

Is your mobile ruining your relationship?

In an age when smartphones and tablets rule our lives, how important is it to put down technology and talk to your loved ones?


"What we need to do is get the discussion going between parents and children, between teachers and children, and employers and employees," Professor Michael said.

"A quarter of the workforce uses the internet for non-related work activities at work, we're losing in productivity and having young people mesmerised by this gadgetry.

"It's about teaching our young people independence and responsible use of the technology."

She said young people needed to balance their technology use with some form of physical or real-life social activity.

Part-time work can also be helpful in reducing the amount of time available to spend on social media.

"[This way] there's less appeal to be there because they're not bored," Professor Michael said.

"We need to replace some of this addiction behaviour with real physical activity in the real world."

More here