This weekend, ThoughtWorks, HFP, and the Australian Privacy Foundation hosted the first ever Aaron Swartz Day Internet Freedom Hackathon at the ThoughtWorks Brisbane office. Despite coinciding with the Global StartUp Weekend, 16 attendants persevered and presented on Sunday. Eight project ideas were pitched on Friday night and by the end of the day, five projects soldiered on all the way to the end. Some ideas earned the “Epic Failure” award, as they ended up abandoning their idea and merged into other teams.
- Take on the role of an intelligence analyst, wade through the metadata, and track down the whistleblower! Have fun, and learn how dangerous metadata surveillance really is. Get your free ticket Join our game on Saturday 10th December 2016 (11:00) at the University of Melbourne. We’ve created an imaginary whistleblower who has leaked data to a fictional journalist. You will be working as a data intelligence analyst and your job will be to find them using techniques similar to those used by real-life intelligence analysts.
- WhatsApp will now allow businesses to contact you, and they’ll share your phone number, your contacts, the last time you used the app, and more, with their parent company – Facebook. This from a company that, only two years ago, at the time of the Facebook acquisition, said “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA”. Sorry, WhatsApp, this is not how DNA works. Fortunately, there is a very good alternative, and it’s just as easy to use – Signal Private Messenger (for Android or iOS).
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has decided that census data should no longer be anonymous, and our names and addresses should be linked deterministically to our responses into the future. This is a bad idea, and not the only reason the 2016 census turned into #censusfail. In the lead up to census day, there were many discussions between folks concerned about their privacy about what we could do to protect it.
- Today is census day in Australia, usually a chance for Australians to help “count the nation” and create a snapshot dataset to be used for effective government policy making. But the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has gradually introduced more invasive techniques to the census over the last few decades. This year, they topped it off by taking it online, extending their retention of identifying data and avoiding any external critique by privacy organisations.