Data Expert Warns Encryption Laws could have Catastrophic Outcomes

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A University of Wollongong data expert has labeled the government's proposed encryption laws delusional and warns they could have catastrophic consequences.

The changes would force technology companies to help police access encrypted messages.

Professor Katina Michael, from the School of Computing and Information Technology says the powers are unprecedented and have no oversight.

She is speaking to ABC reporter Kelly Fuller.

Citation: Katina Michael with Kelly Fuller, “Rushed Encryption Laws Herald a Watering Down in National Security”, ABC Illawarra: Radio, 6 December 2018, https://soundcloud.com/kelfuller/data-expert-warns-encryption-laws-could-have-catastrophic-outcomes

Fork Over Passwords or Pay the Price

Fork Over Passwords or Pay the Price, New Zealand Tells Travelers

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As of this week, travelers who fail to unlock their devices risk prosecution and potential fines of 5,000 New Zealand dollars, about $3,295.

The law applies to both foreign visitors and returning New Zealand citizens.

Mr. Brown, the customs spokesman, said that once a password was supplied, “preliminary searches” would be carried out with a traveler’s phone or computer set to flight mode, and officers would explore only files saved to the device, not website histories or any information uploaded to cloud-based storage.

A device could be confiscated for further examination only if the preliminary search led officials to believe that was warranted, although Mr. Brown admitted that failure to provide a password could be grounds for seizure.

The move drew criticism from civil liberties advocates, who said digital devices contain far more private information about a person than luggage does and should therefore be subject to greater protection from searches.

Katina Michael, a professor at the University of Wollongong in Australia who specializes in surveillance issues, said most countries’ laws allowed officials to confiscate devices, often for a period of weeks, if passwords were not provided or illegal activity was suspected. But she said the new fines in New Zealand added a “scare factor” to pressure people, who often do not know their rights when entering a new country, to hand over their codes.
But a spokesman for New Zealand’s Council for Civil Liberties, Thomas Beagle, told Radio New Zealand that it was not clear what constituted “reasonable suspicion” and that there was no way for travelers to challenge a forced search of their devices.

In 2017, New Zealand border officials conducted 537 preliminary searches of devices, and customs officials said they did not expect that number to increase under the new law.

In the United States, forced searches of devices at the border have increased in recent years and have been subject to lawsuits, in which civil liberties activists claim the examinations are invasive and unlawful.

Professor Michael said there had also been an increase in digital searches and device confiscations at the Australian border.

Facial recognition, law enforcement and the risks for and against

Katrina Dunn of Ideapod interviews Katina Michael of UOW.

Facial Recognition and Scope Creep in Australian Proposal

'Before we know it…': worries over feature creep

But surveillance expert Professor Katina Michael pointed to an established trend of technology creeping up in scope and said The Capability would be no exception.

She expected the system to slide down a slippery slope of privacy erosion, eventually being used for petty crime, civil cases and a whole range of purposes unrelated to terrorism.

"It's a farce," she said.

"Before we know it'll be used for breath tests and speeding, it will be used to open a bank account … licences are our primary ID — so does that mean everywhere we've been using them for identity, all the clubs and pubs, will have access to it?

"Even car insurance — [people will think] 'we are using it for drivers' licences, maybe we should also use it for third-party compulsory insurance. And then we need it for health insurance'."

Your face 'may end up on some third-party selling list'

Ms Michael was equally concerned about systematic errors causing potential mistaken identities and leading to people being wrongly accused or suspected of crime.

"It's not going to take long for these systems to be hacked, no matter what security you have in place and once it's hacked, that's it — everyone's facial images will end up on some third-party selling list and possibly on the internet for accessibility."

"Yeah, people put photos on Facebook, but not in that kind of systematic, calculated way.

"Some Australian citizens are going to be completely freaked out."

Original Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-05/facial-recognition-coag-privacy-concerns-about-the-capability/9017494

Citation: Jake Evans and Clare Sibthorpe, "Facial recognition: Feature creep may impose government's software in our lives, expert warns", ABC News, October 5, 2017. Available: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-05/facial-recognition-coag-privacy-concerns-about-the-capability/9017494

Who Can Watch Whom Under the Law?

Who can watch whom under the law? Is it ethical to release CCTV footage to to the public? What comes first, citizen privacy or state protection? These are all questions that have come up in the wake of the exposure of the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. As the Royal Commission into the matter begins, we are left wondering what further exposure may reveal. This raises the ethical question of whether or not CCTV footage is ethical and how its role within society can affect individuals. However the ethics and laws around CCTV footage remain murky. Dr Katina Michael, professor from the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong, joined us on the show to discuss these issues. 

Produced by Brooke Taylor and Annie Lewis

Katina Michael with Sean Britten, August 15, 2106, "Who can watch whom under the law?", 2SERFM, http://www.2ser.com/component/k2/item/24188-who-can-watch-whom-under-the-law

Women Cops Should Join Hands to Fight Crime’

Hyderabad: The international conference, a first of its kind, on ‘Women in Law Enforcement’, jointly organised by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy(SVPNPA) and the Charles Sturt University (CSU), Australia started here on Tuesday with Aruna Bahuguna, director, SVPNPA, urging all women officers to build on breakthroughs achieved by women pioneers. In her inaugural address, she said that “as today’s world has shrunk into a global village and crime and terrorism sweep across continents, it is but logical that women law enforcers join hands to fight crime- be it terrorism, technology or radicalization.” Introducing the conference, Professor Tracey Green of CSU, Australia, emphasized that this was a unique opportunity for networking at every level from global, regional to national scale on many key aspects of policing from organized crime, border security, terrorism and radicalization and counter radicalisation. Chris Elstoft, Deputy High Commissioner, Australian High Commission, touched upon the long-standing relationship between Australia and India.

“We have been collaborating and working on a range of transnational issues related to money laundering and counter terrorism to name a few and this conference is yet another milestone that we have achieved coalescing the issue of women policing and gender equality.” Elaborating further, Professor Green stated that “terrorism worldwide demonstrates the need to strengthen global response in the critical areas of investigation. Technology: A Double-edged Sword Speaking on the benefits and harms of National Security Technology, Associate Professor Katina Michael, who has been researching on security technology for over 16 years, of University of Wollongong in Australia said technology’s pervasiveness can be hideous. Speaking about micro-chipping people embracing the technology into one’s body, she touched upon India’s Aadhaar-unique identity cards. According to her, keeping upto the pace of change in technology one forgets the basic needs. “What is the need for collecting biometrics of 1.2 billion people, without a legislation, when the country already has a national registry. Wait till a hacker takes your identity and how you would not be able to reclaim your identity,” she warned of a concept called ‘Identity theft’.

Women as agents of de-radicalisation Gulmina Bilal Ahmad,an independent researcher from Pakistan, speaking about the radicalisation related tendencies in her country, pointed out how women police force could be used in counter-radicalising terrorist activities. According to her, evidences suggest that certain militant organisations use specific messages targeting women groups, youth and children oriented groups. She said a certain militant group in SWAT were recruiting militants through a radio station talking about social justice that resonated with majority population. She reiterated that women police personnel who form less than one per cent of Pakistan police force and remain largely un-utilised should be used as de-radicalisation agents by engaging youngsters in dialogue. Higher ranks & not Numbers matter While pointing out that the representation of female police officers in International Police Force was higher and has reached an all-high of 44 per cent in Interpol, Dr Saskia Hufnagel of Queen Mary University London, said “It is not enough to improve the numbers of women in police force, what we need to do is to ensure that women make it to the higher ranks.”

Citation: Staff, 7 October 2015, ‘Women Cops Should Join Hands to Fight Crime’, New Indian Express.

Dashcams Used to Gather Evidence of Adverse Driver Behaviour: Police Encourage Reporting by Citizen

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Dashcams are proliferating. In some states of Australia, more than 10% of vehicles are fitted with this technology, and about 50% more want it. There has been a boom of followers of dashcam data, one Facebook site has about 200K members. Police in some states are encouraging people to store data that might be used toward prosecuting those involved in adverse driving behaviour, while in other states like Victoria, police are more circumspect about the use of dashcams and body-worn video recorders. Cameras can have an equiveillance effect, power by police is countered by citizen power through crowdsourced sousveillance. Yet, while footage might have been recorded, it is not always readily available given records management cycles and the like. It becomes particularly unappealing when law enforcement do not hand over important data on its officers, and the whole purpose of data retention comes into question. Complaints against officers have allegedly decreased as a result of body worn video recorders used by police forces, and evidence for the "use of force" by police have been supported by camera evidence. However, visual data is not unbiased as most would have it believe. It is contextual and like any data it can be used to misrepresent cases.

Tim Holt and Katina Michael. January 31, 2015, "Dashcams Used to Gather Evidence of Adverse Driver Behaviour: Police Encourage Reporting by Citizens" ABC South East NSW Radio: Mornings with Tim Holt (2015), Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/516/

Australian study looks at public attitudes toward mobile emergency alerts

The use of location-based services by governments to send alerts during emergencies sparked privacy concerns over data collection- but not over the potential for unauthorized secondary use of the data, according to a study published onllne by the journal Telematics snd lnformatics.

The study was based on surveys of residents of Australia, which has considered the use of nationwide mobile alerts in emergencies. The surveys, though, too place in well in advance of leaks by Edward Snowden that have had a major impact on the public discourse over privacy and government data collection.

Overall, Australians would accept location-based services during emergencies, the study says. Perception of whether such a service would be useful depended largely on whether respondents trust the government to control and provide the service effectively.

The perceived usefulness of [location-based services] for emergency management was the key driver behind the individual positive attitude towards using the services and intention toward using them in the future, the researchers found.

There was little evidence, thought, that ease of use would be important to users, the
study says.

The study has been peer-reviewed but not yet published In an Issue of Telematlcs
and lnformatics
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It notes that future research could compare the results across countries. "Such studies would shed light on the role of culture and government, such as the role and influence of
government administration in creating disparities in the factors determining the acceptance or rejection of location-based emergency services."

For more: go to the study, "Social acceptance of location-based mobile government services for emergency management" by Aloudat and Michael.

Citation: Zach Rauanitz, September 10, 2013, "Australian study looks at public attitudes toward mobile emergency alerts", Fierce Mobile Government.

Natural disasters and early warning systems in Australia

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Authors

Emma PapaemanuelSBS
Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong
Peter JohnstonARUP

Article comments

Original streamed @ http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/greek/

Abstract

Australia's national emergency warning system alerts. Radio program in Greek.

Suggested Citation

Emma Papaemanuel, Katina Michael, and Peter Johnston. "Natural disasters and early warning systems in Australia" SBS Greek Language Radio Jan. 2013: 7.30 a.m.-7.45 a.m..
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/319

Are disaster early warnings effective?

Key Link

Authors

Kerri WorthingtonSBS Radio
Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong
Peter JohnsonARUP
Paul BarnesQueensland University of Technology

Article comments

Details can be found here: http://www.sbs.com.au/podcasts/Podcasts/radionews/episode/251657/Are-disaster-early-warnings-effective

Abstract

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Australia's summer is traditionally a time of heightened preparation for natural disasters, with cyclones and floods menacing the north and bushfires a constant threat in the south. And the prospect of more frequent, and more intense, disasters thanks to climate change has brought the need for an effective early warning system to the forefront of policy-making. Technological advances and improved telecommunication systems have raised expectations that warning of disasters will come early enough to keep people safe. But are those expectations too high? Kerri Worthington reports.

Increasingly, the world's governments -- and their citizens -- rely on technology-based early warning systems to give sufficient notice to prepare for disaster. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed well over a quarter of a million people led to the establishment of an early warning system for countries bordering the ocean. Last year, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono praised the system for warning people to prepare for a possible tsunami after an 8.6 magnitude quake in the ocean floor northwest of the country. Japan's years of preparedness is also credited for saving lives in the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

In Australia, the Federal Government has instigated an 'all-hazards' approach to early warnings, including terrorist acts as well as natural disasters, in the wake of a number of international terrorist attacks that affected Australians. Professor Katina Michael of the University of Wollongong specialises in technologies used for national security. Professor Michael has praised Australia's location-based national emergency warning system which allows service providers to reach people in hazardous or disaster areas, locating them through their mobile devices. "And that's a real new innovation for the Australian capability which I think is among the first in the world to actually venture into that mandated approach to location warning of individuals. And this allows people who are visiting a location, maybe working in a location they're not residing in, or maybe enjoying recreation activities in a location to be warned about a hazard." But there are concerns those systems can breed complacency.

Peter Johnson is a fellow at Arup, a global firm of designers, planners, engineers and technical specialists. "There is a concern about people in communities being too reliant just on official warnings to trigger actions. There's people in the community who think 'well I don't need to do anything, I just have to wait and someone will tell me what to do' and ignore the personal responsibility for their response and actions, so that's an issue. There's another issue about official warnings in some cases may come too late in flash floods or days of very high fire danger and rapid spread."

Mr Johnson says warnings need to be timely and relevant, with minimal false alarms to avoid 'warning fatigue', where people ignore alerts. That's an issue Victoria's County Fire Authority is currently grappling with. It's come under criticism after hundreds of people reported its FireReady app for mobile devices that gives location of fires and fire conditions, has proven to be unreliable. Many Victorians are anxious about early warning of impending fires, after many were taken by surprise -- with some fatal consequences -- in the Black Saturday fires of 2009. Fire experts say it's important not to rely only on one source of information for disaster warnings. And Peter Johnson says government bodies need to set warnings within an overall emergency management context. "We need the risk knowledge, we need the planning, the pre-event information and the broad season warnings and alerting us to days of flooding or total fire ban. Equally we need to understand, and probably better understand, the response of people and communities to those warnings and what actions are taking place."

Paul Barnes, the coordinator of the Risk and Crisis Management Research Domain at the Queensland University of Technology, agrees early warning policies need to be part of a broader risk and hazard communication capability. "When we have natural and socio-technical disasters often we start with the natural phenomena, the natural threat. We had seismic activity, earthquakes in Japan, bushfires, flooding in Australia. But very quickly the impacts from that initial source impact on technical hazards, technical issues, so we lose infrastructure systems, we lose telephony. We also therefore have, in some cases, biological problems in terms of water supply being contaminated." Dr Barnes says often what starts out to be one type of problem quickly cascades into others, and information about ongoing issues needs to be communicated to the public. "Once the initial event occurs, there will be an ongoing need to have continuing types of information flow to the public about cascading elements and the connective elements of these sorts of impacts as they go through time. So the basic principle of the complexity of the situation and matching the sophistication and adaptability of information that needs to go to the public, and also those not affected -- emergency responders, government officials, etc -- is a very complex situation that requires some very sophisticated application of thinking."

Suggested Citation

Kerri Worthington, Katina Michael, Peter Johnson, and Paul Barnes. "Are disaster early warnings effective?" SBS Radio: World News Jan. 2013. Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/318