Technology brings innovation and efficiency. While we are all striving to be technologically developed, we are also becoming more vulnerable. We are leaving digital footprints behind and exposing ourselves on the internet. Data is both beneficial or dangerous depending on what is it being used for. We seem to be losing our control of our data, in terms of what data has been collected, what it is being stored for and where it is stored.
Article 1: Encryption of Data
Figure 1: (Protest against NSA surveillance, Mike Herbst 2013)
The author is Adam Henschke whose article was originally published on ‘The Conversation’, and my reference is this article from ‘The Australian’ who republished it under their newspaper. ‘The Australian’ is a national newspaper agency and is highly reputable.
The motivation behind writing the article was to identify the benefits and downsides of national secret agencies having access to private information and what responsibility they should hold as a result of having access to this information. He is looking to address the differences in both parties on this issue and present both sides of the argument.
I would consider Adam an expert in the field as he is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the ANU in Canberra, and has had a wide scope of experience in the security industry. He does not seem like he is a regular contributor to ‘The Conversation’, instead publishing articles occasionally.
He has written about the topic before has he has received funding before from ‘The Brocher Foundation’ to investigate the ethics of health information, as well as writing numerous articles related to computer security. The article is an independent one that appears to have significant levels of research behind it as he is able to discuss various issues and the arguments against them, including to a level that only certain ‘experts’ who are aware of the internal system would be aware of. The author’s position is purely an investigative one, where he presents both the advantages and disadvantages.
Article 2: The Concept of Online Privacy
The reporters are Margot O’Neill and Emma O’Neill, an Australian senior news reporter and journalist on ABC’s Lateline program. The presenter is Emma Alberici, who is often the main face of the Lateline. The ABC has been labelled “left-wing”, but it is generally considered a professional and reputable source of information.
As Ms. Alberici quotes Edward Snowden, the NSA Whistleblower at the beginning of the segment, the main motivation of the report is most likely growing concerns over government access to the privacy of private citizens. Neither are experts in the field. Instead, they are investigative journalists, and in this segment, Ms. O’Neill is conducting a social experiment, to see how much Australians value their privacy. An expert in this field may make a judgment on how much Australian should value their privacy, rather than observing current trends.
Both Ms. O’Neill and Ms. Alberici have reported on privacy issues before, however in similar contexts where they report on current affairs or observe social dynamics. In this segment, there does seem to be a bias against private citizens providing information to large corporations, and the notion of a “right to privacy”. This bias becomes more obvious due to the response of AAMI, whose Safe Driver App was criticised within in the article.
I think I agree with the critique and warning implied by the article. Online privacy is getting harder and harder to protect, and private citizens need to be more weary. This is why the legal safeguards are so important.
Article 3: Australia’s Cyber Security
Figure 2: (The Digital Attack map shows there was no suspicious activity at the time the Census website crashed, Marnie O’Neill and Debra Killalea 2016)
The author of this article is Mike Seccombe, who is The Saturday Paper’s national correspondent. He is also a panellist on ABC TV. He is known for being critical of liberal party views, and perhaps more supportive of “The Greens”. The Saturday Paper has been considered “for independent minds”, and prides itself as being dedicated to “long form reporting”. This mission statement suggests that it is a reliable source of news.
This article is motivated by the taking down of the ABS website last week when people were completing their census surveys. The author is a regular contributor to The Saturday Paper and seems to contribute weekly. He would not be considered an expert, except for the knowledge he has gained in this article. His stories for The Saturday Paper consider a wide variety of issues, and so his expertise would not be because of exposure to the issue many times. However, given the newspaper is committed to long-form journalism, he would have gained a certain amount of expertise through this story.
This article appears to be well-researched, as Mr. Seccombe consults an expert’s Professor Slay, and Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute but also considers statements by other bodies and politicians. He also analyses the issue in relation to Australia’s cyber security overall, and other similar events worldwide. The bias is not particularly strong, but if read between the lines, Mr. Seccombe is critical of the current government and advocates for greater national security.
I largely agree that Australia needs to be careful with respect to cybersecurity and ensuring strong infrastructure. However, the article could have confirmed more of the current infrastructure in place.
Article 4: The Agreement of Terms and Conditions Online
Figure 3: (Creative Commons-inspired concept of visually conveying information about data handling, Marry Hodder, n.d.)
The author of this article is Ansgar Koene, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham. He is writing for The Conversation, which is known to be a platform for academic and independent sources. Given he is a senior academic, his articles are likely to be well researched, considered and trustworthy.
This article appears to be motivated by the House of Lords committee recommendation to introduce a “kite mark” to ‘identify websites that meet EU standards for handling and processing personal data’. The nature of The Conversation is that contributors are not very regular, but Mr. Koene has written for the platform before. Given his academic background, he is likely to be considered an expert in privacy, however perhaps not the EU standards. This is evident as he has written about privacy, and terms and conditions before.
This article is someone opinion based, as it critiques the House of Lords recommendation. This opinion is not really a bias but provides an alternate and commercial perspective to the recommendation. I think the author raises a number of valid and practical points that the House of Lords did not consider. In the business community, his viewpoint may be well accepted, but he does seem to provide a new perspective.
Other positions that are worth investigating would include asking companies whether they would use a “kite mark” and a further breakdown of the cost; rather than the assumptions made by the Mr. Koene.
Article 5: Phone Data Surveillance
Video 1: (Stores Using Surveillance Software to Collect Data on Customer Behavior,The New York Times 2013)
The reporter in this story is Jake Sturmer is the ABC’s “national environment and science reporter”. He is writing this article as a part of that role, as this article considers how shopping centres are using technology to see how shoppers engage with the centre. As Mr. Sturmer is writing for the ABC, it could be important to realise that the ABC has been labelled “left-wing” by some critics, however, it is generally considered a trustworthy and professional source of information.
Mr. Sturmer appears to have reported on this story as this seems to be new technology, and technology that many shoppers would be unaware of. Mr. Sturmer appears to be a very regular reporter for the ABC, with many articles written about science and technology. Given how many articles he has written for the ABC, he is likely to have a certain level of expertise simply due to exposure.
This article is factual, with the interviews being conducted by the former Privacy Commissioner, Malcolm Crompton and Clinton House who develops the systems that allow shopping centres to get this information. Like other articles concerning privacy by the ABC, this article seems to imply that private citizens should be careful of their right to privacy. However, there is no strong bias in the article.
No strong argument is presented by the reporter, however, his questions suggest a certain level of scepticism of Clinton House assuring that private citizens have nothing to fear. I would generally agree with this weariness, as many people are unaware of the information they are providing to big companies. The former Privacy Commissioner also warns companies of breaching the Privacy Act which is probably a good warning of companies too. Nonetheless, this weariness is common of many commentators in the field, especially given Snowden’s statements in the last few years.
Another position to consider is whether the technology really is as easy to opt of as Clinton House suggests it is.
by Ayesha Mira
Henschke, A. 2013, ‘Encryption ethics: who’s responsible for privacy?’ , The Australian, viewed 5 August 2016, < http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/encryption-ethics-whos-responsible-for-privacy/news-story/125ed7e20726247fec104c062c9d82bb>.
Koene, A. 2016, The Conversation, viewed 5 August 2016,
Sturmer, J. 2013, ABC, viewed 5 August 2016,
O’Neill, M. 2015, ABC, viewed 5 August 2016,
Seccombe, M. 2016, The Saturday Paper, viewed 5 August 2016,
Image & Video:
Herbst, M. 2013, Protest against NSA surveillance, The Australian, viewed 5 August 2016,<http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/encryption-ethics-whos-responsible-for-privacy/news-story/125ed7e20726247fec104c062c9d82bb>.
O’Neill, M. 2015, The Digital Attack map shows there was no suspicious activity at the time the Census website crashed, ABC, viewed 5 August 2016, <http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/hacking/what-does-this-digital-attack-map-tell-us-about-the-alleged-census-attack/news-story/2c06914dec07beca6079801634b99a58>.
Hodder, M. n.d. , Creative Commons-inspired concept of visually conveying information about data handling, The Conversation, viewed 5 August 2016,<http://theconversation.com/never-read-the-terms-and-conditions-heres-an-idea-that-might-protect-your-online-privacy-62208>.
The New York Times 2013, Stores Using Surveillance Software to Collect Data on Customer Behavior, video recording, YouTube, viewed 5 August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBibik04IWU>.