Citation: Katina Michael interviewed by Charlotte Graham Mclay, October 2, 2018, “New Powers to Search Instrumentation at the Border”.
Citation: "雪梨機場「魔鬼安檢」 惹議", UDN August 26, 2018, https://www.udn.com/news/story/6812/3330628
Sydney airport seizure of phone and laptop 'alarming', say privacy groups
Border Force detain British-Australian software developer Nathan Hague, apparently at random, for 90 minutes
A British-Australian citizen travelling through Sydney airport has had his devices seized, and believes his laptop password cracked and his digital files inspected by Border Force officers, in what privacy groups say is a worrying development.
Nathan Hague, a 46-year-old software developer, was detained apparently at random for 90 minutes while the officers took his phone and password-protected laptop into a back room.
Hague said the officers refused to tell him what would be done with his devices, why they were being inspected or whether his digital data was being copied and stored.
“I don’t have anything to hide, but I value my privacy,” Hague said. “So I asked them, if you’re OK to do the bomb inspection in front of me, you’re OK to go through my bags in front of me, why do you have to take my devices out of my sight? What are you going to do with them?”
Hague said he asked the officers whether his files would be copied, and if so, what they would be using the files for. He said the officers refused to answer those questions, or explain what the ABF’s data retention policy was, or detail how long the files would be kept.
The ABF acknowledged that Hague’s devices were examined, but declined to comment on whether the files had been copied.
“Officers may question travellers and examine goods if they suspect the person may be of interest for immigration, customs, biosecurity, health, law-enforcement or national security reasons,” said a spokesperson for the ABF.
Tim Norton, chair of Digital Rights Watch, said the use of these powers under the Customs Act effectively circumvents any judicial oversight and was an “alarming trend”.
“People should have the right to know what information is being collected, for what purpose, who it’s being shared with and why. These powers make a mockery of our right to privacy,” he says.
Under the Customs Act, officers have the right to examine travellers’ personal items, including accessing electronic devices and making copies of their files. The Customs Act imposes no legal threshold or requirement that officers need to meet in order to use this power.
Professor Katina Michael, of the University of Wollongong’s school of computing and information technology, said the ABF’s electronic search powers were “highly invasive”.
“If sensitive information is leaked, say in the case of a lawyer or doctor who is travelling across regions, then there are major concerns for privacy.”
In 2016, the ABF was sued after officers seized a passenger’s phone and used it to send text messages.
Greens senator Jordon Steele-John said overreach on data collection is “happening all the time.”
“Australia’s privacy laws are now so drastically out of step with the rest of the world – especially the EU – that they will cause conflicts and infringe on the rights of citizens from other jurisdictions, especially when you add in the new proposed powers under the Assistance and Access bill,” Steele-John said.
Fears over new search powers
Under new legislation, proposed last week, the ABF would be given additional search powers and the penalties for individuals refusing to provide access to the ABF to evidence held in a device – for example, refusing to share their password to unlock a device – would be up to five years’ imprisonment, or 10 for serious offences.
An exposure draft of the bill revealed the obligation to assist police and other agencies in unlocking devices, including by de-encrypting data, would extend to tech giants such as Facebook, Apple and Google.
Steele-John and other privacy advocates have raised concerns over the new legislation.
“The scope and overreach of the new Border Force powers is terrifying, and has much broader consequences and implications than just individual privacy, in the context of this incident which occurred at Sydney airport.”
Keeping data private
Professor Michael recommended that people who wanted to protect their data should not carry devices across international borders.
“If you are doing sensitive work, keep your files on your computer encrypted, or go one better and do not take your computer with you through Customs. Put it on the cloud where the GDPR [EU’s General Data Protection Regulation] is in force and lease a laptop in your given destination,” she said.
But that advice is of little comfort to Hague, who said the actions of the ABF officers had put his business in breach of Europe’s tough new GDPR data privacy laws and he would now need to give privacy breach notifications to his clients.
“I don’t mind people looking at the files if that’s one of the directives, but you have to give clear definitions and you also can’t leave the international business travellers exposed like this to having fines or breach notices being served by their own clients.”
“I’m getting messages from fellow business owners that they’re re-thinking their choice to come to Australia to do business over here, they’d rather just do it remotely. They expect that in America, but they don’t expect that behaviour here in Australia.”
Citation: Elise Thomas, August 24, 2018, "Sydney airport seizure of phone and laptop 'alarming', say privacy groups", The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/25/sydney-airport-seizure-of-phone-and-laptop-alarming-say-privacy-groups
PHONE-addicted Aussies are spending up to six hours a day glued to their devices amid concern quality time with loved ones is being compromised.
Research shows some users unlock their devices an astounding 216 times a day – once every three minutes over a 12-hour period.
The average Australian spends nearly 2½ hours a day on their phone. Women aged 56-65 were the worst offenders.
The figures – from smartphone usage tracker AntiSocial – show Australia’s phone addiction ranks among the highest worldwide. Only Russia, the UK and US were worse.
Chris Eade, from tech firm Bugbean, which developed AntiSocial, said most phone users tended to underestimate their usage and were shocked to learn the reality.
“It’s crazy to see how much time we spend and what we do on our phones,” Mr Eade said.
The statistics – based on the phone usage of more than 130,000 AntiSocial users over two years – point to a worrying pattern of compulsive checking and social media use.
Australians launch mobile apps an average 101 times a day. Those aged 18-25 average 118.
Social media apps take up most user’s phone time, with Facebook accounting for 20 per cent of total “in app” time.
University of Wollongong internet addiction expert Prof Katina Michael said tech companies were engineering apps to be as addictive as possible.
“They are literally hacking the brain – the content is turning to brainwashing,” she said.
But University of Adelaide behavioural expert Daniel King said addiction was not black and white. “It’s not obvious that just using your phone is addictive,” he said. For those who think they have a problem, Mr Eade recommends leaving the phone off for the first and last 30 minutes of the day and tracking usage.
Citation: Peter Bateman, April 8, 2018, "Aussies are hung up on phones", The Advertiser, p. 7.
Citation: Katina Michael and James Valentine, "The Consequences of Strava, Social Media, Wearables and Data Trails", ABC Sydney: Afternoons, 3.25pm-3.37pm, January 30, 2018, http://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/programs/afternoons/afternoons/9354824
How many times have you looked at your phone today?
Chances are you're looking at it right now.
Before you try and deny you're addicted, here are some stats to consider:
Australian men unlock their phones more than anyone in the world - on average 45 to 46 times a day, while for Australian women it is around 42 times.
Those figures have been calculated by AntiSocial, an app developed by Melbourne software company Bugbean, to monitor people's use of social media.
It is a free app with no ads that is only available on Android because the creators say Apple does not allow such monitoring, but the idea is to encourage users to put down their devices.
Australians spend around two hours a day on apps
According to AntiSocial's developer Chris Eade, Australian men and women spend about two hours a day on their phones, and that is not including use for music streaming, video streaming, or making calls - that is pure Facebook, web surfing, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Adam Alter, from the Stern School of Business, has written a book called Irresistible - why we can't stop checking, scrolling, clicking and watching.
He told Lateline around 50 per cent of the adult population has some form of behavioural addiction.
"I think you can ask yourself if you have a problem and you'll know," he said.
"[People] feel that their lives are being encroached upon by devices, their social lives, maybe their relationships with their loved ones and friends. They're not experiencing nature. They're not exercising."
Our boredom threshold at rock bottom
Mr Alter said smartphones have changed human behaviour so much that we no longer allow ourselves to experience being bored.
"Our boredom threshold has declined to the point where you'll get in an elevator for five seconds, take out your phone," he said.
"Boredom is very important for productivity, for creativity and new ideas, and if you never allow yourself to be bored, you will never have those ideas."
Mr Alter has written about a private school near Silicon Valley that uses no technology, yet surprisingly 75 per cent of the students' parents work in the tech sector.
"You'd think their children would be the biggest users of tech. But what you actually find, it's the reverse that a lot of these tech titans refuse to let their kids near technology," he said.
"Steve Jobs in 2010 in an interview said things like, 'you should use this device, but we do not allow it in our home and we won't let our kids near it'. He was talking about the iPad."
How to break up with your device
Katina Michael, from the University of Wollongong's School of Computing and IT, specialises in online addiction, and she told Lateline that tech companies have a lot to answer for.
"I think it's extremely hypocritical," she said.
"The laptop's not made you smarter and more intelligent. I think the companies that Adam was talking about need to recheck their ethics and I think our children need to stop being sold the wrong story about what is going to make their future brighter. We have a lot to answer for as academics."
Professor Michael had this advice for tech addicts looking to wean themselves off their devices:
"Think about replacing the activities that you have done online with offline activities, whether it's going for physical exercise, joining a community group or just getting a job, or just speaking with your family and making real food instead of playing a game about making food," she said.
If you're still questioning whether or not you're addicted, compare how you stack up to AntiSocial's biggest user.
"Our biggest user we have at the moment is a woman in America who uses her phone for 7.5 hours a day, every day on average," Mr Eade said.
"That's a full time job."
"Regulators are way behind the game when it comes to wearable and IoT privacy, and users are willingly conspiring with companies that don't care about them to help create a society of “uber-veillance”.
That's the grim conclusion reached by Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) board member and University of Wollongong researcher Katina Michael in conversation with The Register.
In light of the US Federal Trade Commission's warning at CES that it's watching the Internet of Things closely, Vulture South wondered how things might stand in Australia and asked Michael for her views on the topic.
One of the things that makes it hard for a regulator to formulate privacy rules covering things like RunKeeper, Fitbits and the like is that so much of the privacy invasion seems almost voluntary. Users take the defaults of the product-plus-service, create a social media stream informing the world of everything from their sleep patterns to the distances and even places they walk, run, cycle – with too little understanding of just how much about them can be inferred from the data.
“We know about peoples' measurements – sleeping, health, where they are, who they're with, engaged in sex, walking, running, speeding, burning calories”, Michael told Vulture South.
“How long does it take until we're constantly being monitored and tracked, and people are predicting our next action?”
She noted that individuals don't realise how much trackers, and the companies that sell them, know about us, how companies use that information, nor how their policies let them on-sell that information.”
She added that it's no longer a fiction that the services behind wearables and IoT devices could know more about us – at least in specific areas – than we know ourselves.
To Vulture South's scepticism, Michael answered “I'm busy: I can't count the number of steps, because I'm too busy walking. I can't count the calories I burn at the gym, or tell you the speed I walked, the distance I covered or the time I spent on a particular activity.
“Spatio-temporal models know these things and can make inferences about what you're doing,” she explained.
Michael reminded Vulture South that these models have been under development for decades. “I worked in a telecoms vendor for six years. We had voice and data traffic models; we were fairly accurate, we knew where traffic was coming from, where it was going to.”
The advent of mobile telephony expanded both the data and the inference that could be drawn from it dramatically, she said, so that by 1997-1998, she was able to find very good details that associated the individual to his or her behaviour.
Since then, the data sources contained in just one device, the smartphone, have exploded: “Not only can we collect the personal data from the sensors – the GPS, the accelerometer, the altimeter, the temperature sensor, and make the speed/distance/time calculation,” she said, but it's now trivial to plot that against data amassed by Google's StreetView or national address files (the GNAF in Australia).
“I not only know your X and Y coordinate, I know the building name, what floor you visited,” she said, and since people are creatures of habit, the inferences that can be drawn from phone data alone are invasive and revealing.
Add data from wearables and implantables, add consumer confusion about who owns the data (you don't, for example, own the data generated by “your” pacemaker, she said), and combine it with vague and liquid company privacy policies and user enthusiasm for self-publishing their “quantified self” data, and the emerging situation “blows the National Privacy Principles out of the water,” Michael said.
“For example, you can easily bucket someone into categories – social sorting – 'I won't hire them because they're lazy, or they're not eligible for credit, or I won't insure them, or hike up the premium'.
(For example, El Reg had its attention separately drawn to the AAMI “Safe Driver” app, which offers the inducement of rewards for the user to link back to the company. It's a short distance from carrot to stick.)
“How long is it going to take before this data is used to make decisions that the person is not aware of?”, she continued, citing the possibility that a future user doesn't realise they're being charged a different insurance premium “because of the data you put online from the Fitbit?”
Wearables, she said, are not so far in capability from state surveillance anklets (for example, that are used to monitor persons subject to control orders). “We're being duped into thinking they're liberating devices, when they're devices of enslavement,” she said. “And consumers aren't saying 'uh-oh, there's a problem here'. They're saying 'bring it on!'”
We're creating a world not of surveillance – that's already here – but of “uber-veillance” where the combination of data and analysis “gets inside your head” and increasingly predicts actions.
Michael says it's also easy to imagine that non-participation – a decision to keep some data private – could draw a punitive response from the corporate world.
Today, she said, people pay attention to the idea that their “things” might be hacked, that their phones might be vulnerable.
In the future, she said, “you won't be able to hide: you will get hit with fees for not disclosing.”
Penalties for non-disclosure of metrics will, at least, offer one opportunity for regulators to act, and such opportunities will be few.
Another spot where regulators could apply a wedge is in how devices and their associated apps treat privacy at purchase.
“They shouldn't be automatic opt-in,” she said. Individuals might find it inconvenient in the short term, but instead of hiding poison pills on page nineteen of a document nobody reads, users should have to go through dialogues, understanding and okaying each of the invasions the wearable's maker hopes to achieve.
“We get the devices, they have inherent policies built in and we're not told what could happen. The location information doesn't have to come built in and already enabled,” she said – it's just that's the preference of the vendor.
Orwell's vision is already obsolete, she said, usurped by Google and a world that has you tagged. Until privacy watchdogs awake from their slumber, it's only users who can resist the cargo-cult tradeoff of their secrets for a shiny toy. "
Citation: Richard Chirgwin, January 13, 2015, "Welcome to 'uber-veillance' says Australian Privacy Foundation" The Register (2015), Available at: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/13/its_already_too_late_for_privacy/
Author: Tiffany Hoy, Editor: Wang Yuanyuan, Global Times - Xinhua China
Katina Michael, University of Wollongong
As "smart" devices continue to advance, government regulation is lagging far behind, leaving citizens vulnerable to giving away their private information without their knowledge, said Katina Michael, vice chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation.
People sometimes don't even know what embedded sensors are in the devices that they're carrying, Michael said, but the information that they record can be pieced together to create a frightening surveillance profile. "There are many social implications if I know your whereabouts 24 x 7. I can track your location history, for example -- I know exactly where you were on the Earth's surface, I know how fast you were traveling which tells me your mode of transport, if any, and I'm probably able to infer what you were doing," said Michael.
"If I know through the devices that you're carrying: who you are -- through your ID, where you are -- through GPS or wifi enablement, when you were there -- through a timestamp, and what you were doing -- through the visual imagery you are taking photos or records of, then we pretty much know what is actually in your mind," she added.
Moving towards a more transparent society, where mobile recording devices can be used to capture what's happening at any given time -- with life-bloggers recording every waking moment through autography devices, and police use dashboard cameras and headsets to record video later used as evidence in court, also comes with a trade-off: the erosion of personal privacy.
"There's an asymmetry involved here. The wearer of these wearable devices is always a more powerful constituent in this relationship. Those individuals who choose not to be a part of this new information society may find themselves on the wrong side of any particular imbalance," Michael said. "The asymmetry gets greater and greater as the number of devices grow, (between) those that have wearables and those who don't, and those who don't wish to participate and live off-grid. "Yes we understand that once we step out our front door we can' t expect privacy. But private things can be gathered, such as the clothes that we wear, the places that we frequent, if I want to go to a religious building on a weekend ... I should have an expectation of privacy and there should not be recordings of me going about my everyday life," she added.
Global Times - Xinhua China and Katina Michael. "Living in a smart world" Global Times Jun. 2013.
Lisa Wachsmuth, Illawarra Mercury
Katina Michael, University of Wollongong
"It is one thing to lug technologies around, another thing to wear them, and even more intrusive to bear them... But that's the direction in which we're headed."
"I think we're entering an era of person-view systems which will show things on ground level and will be increasingly relayed to others via social media.
"We've got people wearing recording devices on their fingers, in their caps or sunglasses - there are huge legal and ethical implications here."
Lisa Wachsmuth and Katina Michael. "Glogging Your Every Move" Illawarra Mercury: News Nov. 2012: 10. Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/298
Full article in text here:
YOU wake up, it's a hot day so you put on your smart clothes that keep you cool; you lace up your smart shoes which track your movements while every moment of your day is recorded via an implant in your eyeball.
Sounds like science fiction but the technology is already available and it won't be long before body wearable - and implantable - technologies are ever present, according to a University of Wollongong academic.
Associate Professor Katina Michael said people were already comfortable "wearing" devices like pedometers and iPods - and there were even a number of "voluntary microchip implantees" including Australians.
"It is one thing to lug technologies around, another thing to wear them, and even more intrusive to bear them," she said. "But that's the direction in which we're headed."
Emerging body-wearable technologies were becoming more sophisticated and less visible, said Prof Michael, who will host an IEEE International Symposium of Technology and Society in Canada next year.
"You already see people running around with iPod pockets around their arms, or with a heart-rate monitor on at the gym," she said.
"Over the next few years these devices will become less obvious and more integrated with our clothing and accessories. We'll be wearing smart necklaces and earrings, smart glasses and headbands, smart shoes and belt buckles.
"These smart devices will make 'augmented reality' a part of our daily lives; we'll be able to take photos and video, to collect geographical data about where we've been and physiological data such as our heart rate."
A lot of this technology is already in use - extreme sports people wear cameras with built-in GPS; police officers use special sunglasses to record situations and location-based shoes monitor people with dementia.
"Most of these devices were developed for the military and are now enjoying popularity as commercial devices," Prof Michael said.
She collaborates with Prof Steve Mann from the University of Toronto, who is renowned for his eyetap device - a bit like the Google glasses available to buy in 2014 - which he uses to record his life.
"Steve coined the term 'sous-veillance' which unlike surveillance - watching from above - is about watching from below, by having a camera looking out from your body," she said.
"There's already many 'life bloggers' or 'gloggers' who record their lives - it's a bit like having a black box recorder on your person.
"I think we're entering an era of person-view systems which will show things on ground level and will be increasingly relayed to others via social media."
However, the technologies were emerging so fast that the laws - and social mores - surrounding them could not keep up.
"We've got people like Jonathan Oxer, an Australian who has a microchip implanted in his arm so he can open the door to his house without a key," she said.
"We've got Canadian film-maker Rob Spence who replaced his false eye with a camera-eye so he can record everything he sees.
"We've got people wearing recording devices on their fingers, in their caps or sunglasses - there are huge legal and ethical implications here."