What to do if a border agent demands access to your device

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University of Wollongong professor Katina Michael discusses what to do if a border agent demands access to your digital device. It comes after Customs NZ clarified rules in which officers can demand a 'digital strip-search'.

Citation: Katina Michael with Wendyl Nissen, October 11, 2018, “What to do if a border agent demands access to your device”, RadioNZLive: The Long Lunch https://www.radiolive.co.nz/home/on-demand/long-lunch/2018/10/the-long-lunch--in-case-you-missed-thursday--111018.html

The Capability on SBS Greek Radio

Your face is becoming the latest weapon in the world of digital surveillance, and the humble driver's licence looms as a game-changer in tracking individuals through both the real and virtual world.

In Mandarin:

据ABC报道,一旦驾照被引入到生物识别数据库中,政府和一些私人部门将可以获取人们的的照片、年龄和地址等详细信息。

专家警告说,政府和一些有组织的犯罪团伙都有可能出于需要而获取个性化的元数据,人们正面临着失去对自己生物识别特征控制权的风险。

业内观点:

科技和法律方面的专家卡蒂娜·迈克尔(Katina Michael)教授说,在全国可访问的数据库中,大约50%的人已经存储了视觉化的生物特征,而驾照的引入会将这个比例一下提升到80%。

她表示,收集生物识别数据的最大风险之一是生物识别技术方式的漏洞。

迈克尔教授说,“当警察在系统内通过照片来查询个人信息时,不是一对一的搜索匹配,你把一个人的脸放在哪里,可能会得到好几十个人选的搜索结果”。

她说,虽然一段时间后这些被搜索的个人名字可能会被清除,但他们的数据可能会保留在与刑事调查相关的数据库中,而真正的惯犯或恐怖分子却往往不办护照和驾照,来逃避这个系统的管理。

斯蒂芬·威尔逊(Stephen Wilson)经营着一家咨询公司,负责研究和跟踪企业与政府领域的生物识别技术趋势。

他说,目前即便是非常安全的生物识别系统也需要相当长的时间才能准确处理图像。

而当消费者热衷于便利性,例如能够通过面部或指纹的快速扫描来打开手机或访问银行账户,就会忽视安全性,而这就会诱发问题。

威尔逊说,“ 我们在电子数据库里曝光得越多,我们被以生物识别特征匹配的可能性就越大。另外,对试图犯罪的人来说,想要伪造一个驾照,可以从系统里找到一长串与他们长相相似的照片来选择”。

生物识别技术研究所(Industry Trend Tracker)的年度行业调查显示,面部识别将是未来几年最有可能增加的生物识别发展趋势。

受访者们认为,个人隐私和数据保护问题是这个市场上最大的制约因素。

Facial recognition: Feature creep may impose government's software in our lives, expert warns

It's known as 'The Capability' — government facial recognition software to match CCTV footage to passport photos. But new measures to give it access to drivers' licences have surveillance experts worried about what might come next.

Instant facial recognition software used for counter-terrorism could be used on the general public one day if the rules around the use of the software keep changing, a surveillance expert warns.

The ACT Government had this same concern with — though it has still signed on to the changes.

The territory's Attorney-General, Gordon Ramsay, said the ACT Government would continue negotiations on the biometric capability of the facial recognition software, known as The Capability, which matches faces from CCTV footage to passports — and with them, all of a person's associated data.

COAG has agreed to add drivers' licences to that system, and to speed up the week-long process, making The Capability instant.

But the ACT has asked for assurances that data will only be used outside of counter-terrorism when the Capability returns a perfect match.

It was the only jurisdiction that raised privacy concerns .

"One of the things that we would always be looking to is the access and the way that information can be used, they will be part of the ongoing negotiations," Mr Ramsay said.

'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."

Fergus Hanson, head of cyber policy at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said Australians needed to think about where the "guard rails" around privacy should be.

"I think we can all agree that it's useful to use systems like this to track down terrorists or to track down murderers, [but] what happens when we start having more minor crimes being prosecuted and people arrested using this same technology?" Mr Hanson said.

"Would we be OK for example with the Government using that technology to track down someone who hadn't paid a parking fine?

"DNA testing, originally that was a very niche capability that developed, and now it's run of the mill technology that you would run for lots of different crime types."

Mr Hanson said the public needs to consider who ought to own personal data, and how it might be used in the future.

"You don't have to go very far back in history to appreciate why privacy is important, and the constraints that need to be there around states in terms of how they exercise their authority," he said.At the COAG National Security Summit, .

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said "it is more perhaps in sorrow than in anger" that the heightened terrorism threats facing Australia had sparked the need for harsher measures.

"Nonetheless, all jurisdictions have signed up today and it reflects the need for a joined up and collective response to difficult issues," Mr Barr said.

"But to do so within the framework of a Human Rights Act that we have in the ACT has required us to work closely with the Commonwealth to achieve the outcome.

"And I want to acknowledge that that has been achieved, and that's an important thing for residents in the ACT."

Citation: Jake Evans and Clare Sibthorpe, October 5, 2017, "Facial recognition: Feature creep may impose government's software in our lives, expert warns", Australian Broadcasting Corporation News.

Facial recognition, law enforcement and the risks for and against

Katrina Dunn of Ideapod interviews Katina Michael of UOW.

Facial recognition limited to serious offences but APF says disproportionate

Thank you to Naomi Woodley from the ABC for inviting comment from the Australian Privacy Foundation on the topic of invasive technology adoption by the government for the purposes of "national security". The press release from the APF, Digital Rights Watch, Electronic Frontiers Australia and a number of other non-government organisations can be found below.

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The Federal Government says police will only be able to use a national facial recognition database when they are investigating serious crimes that carry a penalty of three years in jail or more.

But privacy advocates still don't believe the database is needed.

Professor Katina Michael from the Australian Privacy Foundation says, if it must go ahead, then its use should be overseen by a specific commissioner.

Duration: 2min 43sec
Broadcast: Fri 6 Oct 2017, 6:05am
Original source here: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/facial-recognition-to-be-limited-to-serious-offences-keenan/9021468

Featured:
Michael Keenan, Justice Minister
Professor Katina Michael, School of Computing and Information Technology, University of Wollongong

Credits: Author- Naomi Woodley

Citation: Michael Keenan and Katina Michael with Naomi Woodley, "Facial recognition to be limited to serious offences: Keenan", ABC AM, Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/facial-recognition-to-be-limited-to-serious-offences-keenan/9021468.

 

APF Joint Press Release

Comprehensive national face database incompatible with a free society

Australia’s leading privacy and civil liberties organisations condemn the decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to provide all images from state and territory driver’s licence databases to the federal National Facial Biometric Matching Capability.

These organisations are the Australian Privacy Foundation, Digital Rights Watch, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, South Australian Council for Civil Liberties and Electronic Frontiers Australia.

The creation of such a comprehensive national facial database is an unnecessary and disproportionate invasion of the privacy rights of all Australians, is the foundation for suspicionless, warrantless mass surveillance and is fundamentally incompatible with a free and open society.

David Vaile, Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation said, “This government has proven it is blind and deaf to privacy and personal information security threats. Make no mistake – this database will affect all Australians, even the most conscientious and law-abiding. It will likely generate massive ‘false positive’ lists that will flood our very effective police and security services with useless distractions. We’ve already seen calls for ‘scope creep’ to cover welfare enforcement, and there’s every reason to expect this capability will come to be used to identify people with unpaid fines and other minor issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

Tim Singleton Norton, Chair of Digital Rights Watch said, “This is a gross overreach into the privacy of everyday Australian citizens, and will have huge impacts on the trust in government to manage this database.  What is urgently needed is proper consultation, evidence and debate - in parliament, with civil society and the public themselves. Whilst we of course must ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the tools necessary to undertake their important work, this should not come at the expense of citizen’s rights to privacy.”

Angus Murray, Vice-President of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties said, “The protection of the Australian community is fundamentally important – however, this also includes the protection of Australians’ civil liberties and privacy. Today’s agreement, and this continued scope creep, clearly highlights the need for the introduction of a tort of serious invasions of privacy and enforceable Human Rights legislation. It is incumbent on the Parliament to ensure that today’s COAG agreement on the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability is demonstrably necessary, adequate and proportionate, and subject to proper public scrutiny.”

Stephen Blanks, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties said, "The community does not yet understand the real implications of facial recognition technology and how fundamentally the way people can access public spaces like airports, sporting facilities and shopping centres will change. When they understand the realities of this technology, people will be very concerned."

Jon Lawrence, Executive Officer of Electronic Frontiers Australia said, “This decision is nothing less than a complete betrayal of a fundamental civil liberty of all Australians.  If implemented, it will ensure that the presumption of innocence no longer has any effective meaning in this country. Such an untargeted, mass surveillance database is just the latest attempt by governments to categorise everyone as potential suspects, not citizens.”

These organisations therefore call on all Australians concerned about this initiative to contact both their state/territory and federal parliamentarians to help them understand that this initiative is an example of government overreach that is simply unacceptable.

Human Microchips: Employers Going Too Far

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Human microchip implants have been around for awhile, used by home automation enthusiasts and biohacking movements. But Swedish company Epicenter is taking the technology to a whole new context as a workplace monitoring tool.

The microchips have been implanted into 150 employees and will enable them to open doors, use photocopiers and make purchases from the company cafe. However, privacy is a concern for many people.

Professor Katina Michael joined Nic to discuss the importance of personal choice in using implantables and the problems that may arise when companies and governments use the technology for potentially nefarious purposes.

Citation: Katina Michael with Nick Healy, "Human Microchips: Employees Go Far", 2SERFM Breakfast, May 5, 2017, 6.45-6.50am, http://2ser.com/human-microchips-employers-going-far/, Producers: Jennifer Luu.

Thousands of Kiama residents say "no" to merger in poll

Kiama residents have turned out in their thousands to formally vote on the NSW Government-?s plans to merge Kiama and Shoalhaven councils.

The plebiscite, held on Saturday at a cost of $120,000 to the community, attracted 8400 voters (including 3000 pre-poll votes).

The number represents half of the 16,826 enrolled voters within the municipality.

More than 95 per cent of those who took part in the ballot voted against the planned merger.

Mayor Brian Petschler applauded the turnout and strong result, declaring the vote a -?real demonstration of community strength-?.

-?This is an outstanding result for a voluntary poll and sends a clear message to the NSW government that it should not proceed with this forced amalgamation with Shoalhaven Council,-? he said.

-?The level of opposition is even higher than what was recorded in an IRIS Research survey of residents soon after the government announced its proposal for the forced amalgamations.

-?Obviously residents still feel very passionately about this issue.-?

Kiama Downs resident Leah Sinclair said he voted against the government-?s proposal because she wanted the council to retain its local representation.

-?You do know the councilors faces, they come around to the school and the surf club, it-?s just a nice little community,-? she said.

Tim Rossiter also voted -?no-?, saying Kiama had -?always been this way-?.

-?I don-?t see why we should change it,-? he said.

Katina Michael said residents wanted to see the area-?s history retained.

-?I want to see us keep Kiama Council-?s historical underpinnings and [provide] local services [and] local attention to all our amenities and for local people to be able to keep their jobs in Kiama,-? she said.

Kiama state MP Gareth Ward welcomed the result of the vote and said he would use it to reinforce to the government the community-?s opposition to the merger plans.

-?I will use everything at my disposal to make it clear to the government about the community-?s views,-? he said.

The state government is expected to hand down its decision on all proposed mergers later this week.

Citation: Angela Thompson and Shannon Tonkin, "Thousands of Kiama residents say "no" to merger in poll", Illawarra Mercury.

Big Data or Big Brother?

And it’s not just Baker who has come to this conclusion. Many others including academics Katina Michael and Keith Miller contend Big Data will ‘change how we live in both small and large ways’. In particular, Michael and Miller have documented how Big Data has altered peoples’ modes of consumption. Businesses are using this information to ‘expose people’s hidden behavioural patterns’ and effectively suggest products for purchase. No doubt you’ve seen it before, ‘People who bought this product also bought product X’. I bet you’d be lying if you said you had never clicked through. They also observe that Big Data analysis is leading to an ‘anticipatory approach’ to fighting crime. But more on that later.

Although data analysis has been around since humans started keeping records, today’s digital era is the first time so much, and so many different types of data have been collected, stored and effectively understood. As American academic Michael Ackerman says ‘in today’s world everything is digital, and therefore everything can be considered as data’. When you can track patterns of digital behaviour, you can begin to predict what people will do, and target individuals for marketing, votes and even government surveillance. This is what makes all our online activities so extremely valuable

SO I’M TELLING you Big Data can be used to understand us as people who vote, buy, love and even commit crimes, but how? Understanding us as a consumer is generally pretty straightforward, as demonstrated by Miller and Michael above. Similarly, during an election campaign American politicians no longer want to use all their marketing resources on broadcasting TV ads. They still do a bit of this, but most of their marketing money now targets undecided voters, in election deciding states like Ohio. Baker sounded a little upset by this on the phone because during the 2012 US election ‘no-one gave a damn’ about his vote. Obama and Romney ignored him completely because Baker lives in a safe Democratic seat. Obama already had his vote, and Romney knew it wouldn’t make a difference. If he had lived in Ohio on the other hand, his vote would be worth money because it might decide the election.

The fact big companies and politicians are spying on us is hardly surprising; you could never really trust those types anyway. But what about your partner? How are they involved with this Big Data thing? I put this to Baker and he told me about a little experiment he undertook with his wife. Sorry to disappoint, but its rated PG.

Many online dating services claim to have the ‘algorithms of love’. Fill out a questionnaire and ta-da! They will show you the love of your life, your future husband or wife until death (or, increasingly, divorce) do you part. So Baker and his wife gave it a shot. They both signed up to one of these sites, filled out the survey and waited anxiously to see if they made the right decision. Sadly, they had not. The algorithm told them so. But Baker was unconvinced; ‘It matched us with all kinds of people that both of us thought, at least I hope my wife thought, were bad matches for us’. So Baker says chemistry.com doesn’t have the ‘algorithm of love’ but… (yes, there is a but) when he gave the site a little bit more information Steve and his wife were reunited. Perhaps these sites aren’t total scams after all.

WHILE USING Big Data to sell products and score dates may seem reasonably harmless, employing Big Data for security purposes raises some big questions. Particularly, whether Big Data surveillance is a good or bad thing for us personally, and our society as a whole. Here we enter the ethical minefield of public good vs. personal privacy.

The utopian vision, which the US government is trying so hard to spin, suggests Big Data can be used to create a safer society. In the wake of the PRISM scandal the NSA revealed its internet surveillance program had stopped fifty potential terrorist attacks. If Big Data could have prevented the Woolwich attack in Britain as well, or stopped a paedophile from interfering with children, shouldn’t law enforcement use it? These are really emotive subjects and my gut instinct is to say yes, of course terrorists should be stopped and paedophiles should be prevented! Who wouldn’t say that? Well, my good friend Stephen Baker (one extended interview is enough to be classified as friends right?).

If you’re confused like I was, Baker offered a pretty good explanation: using Big Data to profile criminals is ‘a way in which innocent people can get grouped into potentially guilty. And when you have a society that is concerned about this, perhaps the civil liberties of people might not be respected as they should be—the innocent aren’t innocent until proven guilty.’ Think of the Pre-Crime division, imagined by Phillip K. Dick in ‘Minority Report’. Dick describes a city where murder has been eliminated because people are arrested before they physically commit the crime. Except instead of sci-fi psychics stopping would-be murderers, we have a quiet little man trawling through your data. If that’s sounding a bit far-fetched, picture this; someone comes up with the profile of a potential paedophile based on interviews and studies of how convicted paedophiles act online. With these statistics, say authorities test every school teacher in the country and they found out that a music teacher at your local primary school had a forty-eight per cent chance of being a paedophile. You’ve got this information, but what do you do with the person? Should you take action and ban him from teaching, by extension accusing him of being guilty of a terrible crime he is yet to commit? Or do you do nothing, because this man is currently innocent? And if you do nothing, should you be held responsible if something does happen? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, it seems to me.

It’s not just about abandoning a cornerstone of our democratic justice system. The knowledge of being watched in itself curtails personal freedoms. French academic Paul-Michel Foucault first wrote about the ‘panopticon’ in his 1975 book ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’. The traditional panopticon is a prison in which the inmates are watched by guards from above. Although the prisoners know they are being watched, they do not know when. In this way their behaviour is controlled by the threat of being observed. In the panopticon the potential of being watched is at the root of power and domination by a minority against the majority. While Orwell’s vision is yet to be fully realised, the power of the observing few is already beginning to encroach on our activities. For example, Michael and Miller are concerned about a kind of digital panopticon coming into play in the workplace. Corporations are increasingly watching their employees’ online activities at work in an effort to increase productivity. However, according to Michael and Miller this surveillance comes at a cost: ‘tracking employees’ every move and continuously measuring their performance against industry benchmarks introduces a level of oversight that can quash the human spirit’. Although you may not feel the oppressive force of the digital panopticon on your soul yet, I am sure you have thought twice before posting those photos from New Years’ or slagging your employer off social media. Once at a Woolworths’ induction the human resources manager told us how she enjoyed firing someone after they made some less than favourable remarks about the company online. For the few months I worked for Woolies I didn’t even put the job on Facebook for fear the HR lady would take umbrage at something I said on social media and fire me.

AFTER ALL THIS you now know a bit about Big Data. Intelligent little men are using the mind-boggling amount of data we make to help understand our lives. Big Data is impacting how businesses, governments, and perhaps even how individuals operate. It impacts consumption, surveillance, security and maybe even love. Today we are all constantly being watched by little men with big computers, but should we be worried? If we are concerned and consequentially begin to monitor and limit our digital activities to avoid being incriminated then we may as well be in a virtual panopticon of sorts. In today’s world it’s hard not to be swept up in the data-producing deluge. Just as 100 years ago you had to give up some privacy to be part of a community, even if it was just meeting in a public square, today we need to give up personal privacy to join online communities, on social media, on email and even just using search engines.

I don’t think I’ve know anyone who’s said they won’t use the internet because they want to maintain their privacy, and I don’t really expect them too. Despite his extensive research on the topic Baker still uses Google, Facebook and Microsoft. In a world increasingly driven by capitalism, he’s decided to exchange his personal data for the services these companies offer. I guess the most important question now is are you?

If you not concerned about Big Data, that’s fine. But next time you’re online, or you use a credit card, or even the next time your smartphone is in your pocket I want you to think of a little man. He wears glasses, is extremely intelligent and always taking notes, notes on you and the patterns of your life. So long as you remember he is there, that Big Data is recording your every digital move, then I guess it’s okay. The message is not so much beware as be aware, Big Data is watching. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Original Source: Matilda Marrozi, 2013, “Big Data or Big Brother?”, Nourish #94, https://matildamarozzi.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/big-data-or-big-brother/

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
.

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.

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