Interviews from a range of sensitive research topics may be at risk. These include immigration, crime and corruption.
Australia's metadata laws offer weak protection to journalists, but they don’t offer any to academics conducting confidential interviews.
A range of laws allow Australian agencies such as local governments to peer over security agencies’ shoulder at your personal data.
Under controversial national security laws, parts of your mobile phone data is accessible by federal police and counterterrorism agencies. But in reality dozens of other organisations can access it too.
Wes Mountain/The Conversation
Ideally, Australia would introduce constitutional protections for media freedom. But, in the meantime, four laws need urgent reform to better balance those freedoms with national security.
Although WhatsApp is described as en encrypted messaging service, it’s not as secure as you might think.
rachit tank / unsplash
Facebook seems to be shifting its focus more towards privacy. But this might have some unexpected repercussions, as highlighted by recent research on the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp.
We need a cyber safety equivalent to the Slip! Slop! Slap! campaign to nudge behavioural change in the community.
If the next government is serious about protecting Australian businesses and families, here are seven concrete actions it should take immediately upon taking office.
New legislation allows Australian government agencies to access encrypted WhatsApp messages.
The government can access your phone metadata, drivers licence photo and much more. And new research shows Australians are OK about it. But that might change.
Despite its enormous cost, the metadata retention scheme wasn’t future-proof.
It is hard to know whether metadata retention has been effective or necessary. We can only hope that the debate over accessing and analysing encrypted services is a little more enlightening.
Evidence isn’t always as straightforward as it might first seem.
Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Brain-zapping, the curious case of the n-rays and other stories of evidence.
The Conversation, CC BY 70.4 MB (download)
You've had an x-ray before but have you had an n-ray? Of course not, because they're not real. But people used to think they were. Today, on Trust Me, I'm an Expert, we're bringing you stories on the theme of evidence.
Not all the data captured by Telstra on how you use its technology is considered ‘personal information’.
The Federal Court has narrowed the definition of what can be deemed "personal information" in any data stored about you.
The ABS promises it has the best of intentions, but many don’t trust it.
The backlash against the Census suggests the Australian Bureau of Statistics didn't do enough to convince Australians it needed to collect their private information or that it'd be kept safe.
Most Australians are unlikely to be able to describe the doctrine of the separation of powers, but they’re quick to assert their liberties under the rubric of a ‘fair go’.
The government’s uncontested assessment of national interest and security often trumps the rule of domestic and international law, as well as Australia’s obligations under human rights treaties.
The internet is complex, but the metadata laws may be even more so.
ISPs were supposed to start collecting our metadata today, but most are not ready due to the complexities of the legislation. Perhaps it's not too early for a review.
The NSA has eyes and ears around the globe.
US intelligence agencies can no longer collect and store the telecommunications data of US citizens but other countries are strengthening their efforts.
A responsible media is cautious about what leaked information it will publish.
Flickr/Alex BuckyBit Covic
If confidential sources can still be exposed by the government's new data retention legislation, why risk leaking anything to the media?
Miriam Stannage, The White House [chainsaw], 1999, digital photograph.
Copyright and courtesy of the artist.
As governments gain greater access to private information there is a need to protect our freedoms. Artists can make a distinct contribution to this debate by offering alternative perspectives.
Mountains of data are being collected on you, and much of it is beyond your grasp.
Metadata is only the beginning. The Big Data trend means there's a lot more information about us out there that can be tracked or monitored.
Many of your online activities leave a digital trace that can reveal your identity.
Avoiding the metadata retention laws and sending messages entirely privately is harder than it might seem.
Journalists tackle the Prime minister Tony Abbott at a typical media conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
AAP Image/Lukas Coch
The Abbott government's efforts to amend its data retention bill amid concerns about journalists protecting their sources is still a worry. And others should be concerned too, including MP.
Is mass data retention the way to go or should authorities be forced to come back with a warrant to find what they want?
As the Australian government pushes on with its data retention bill there are still questions about what safeguards and protections are in place, and a look at similar moves that have failed overseas.
The metadata report disregards a range of reports demonstrating that retention is ineffective.
The endorsement of Australia's data retention bill raises questions about why the reforms are being pushed now, when they had been resisted by others for so long.