Research meets art: CJRC member works with photographer selected for National Photographic Portrait Prize

Crime and Justice Research Member Dr Monique Mann’s research on facial recognition has inspired Anna Sinclair – a photographer based in Sydney – who has been selected as one of 41 finalists in the prestigious National Photographic Portrait Prize 2018, for her work, ‘The Capability’, which brings attention to the creation of the National Facial Biometric Recognition Capability.

Anna discusses the background to her photograph and the inspiration for it:

“Through this work I am trying to bring attention to the creation of The Capability and the risks it poses to the privacy of every Australian that holds a driver’s licence or a passport. Despite what the Federal and state governments have said, the creation of this system that allows government agencies to identify people from a pool of images made up primarily of law-abiding citizens is extraordinary and I find it concerning how little consideration and weight has been given to the privacy implications of it.

Another important aspect of the work is how the creation of a national system of images, combined with facial recognition technology, significantly changes the function of a digital portrait. Portraits have long been objects that both represent and celebrate the uniqueness of individuals, and allow us to reflect on the human experience. With this technology a digital portrait becomes a simple tool by which government agencies can easily identify a person and obtain their biographical information, without their knowledge or consent.

The inspiration for this work came from my research into the broader national security changes that we have seen in the age of counter terrorism, which is feeding into a longer-term project. As part of that research I was in contact with Dr Monique Mann whose work provided a very useful grounding in the use and development of facial recognition technology in Australia. In August 2017, I also attended the Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security co-convened by Dr Mann where the privacy and social impacts of new surveillance technologies, big data and facial recognition technology were discussed and debated by some of the leading experts in the field. It often seems like there are few people watching and getting concerned with the changes that our governments are introducing in the name of national security, so it was really encouraging to be amongst a group of people that are committed to it.”

The National Photographic Portrait Prize is currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra until 17 June 2018. The images of all of the finalists can be viewed here: https://nppp.portrait.gov.au/

Dr Monique Mann has recently published a co-authored book on Biometrics, Crime and Security in the Routledge Law, Science and Society Series and as part of her public policy work on this issue has also recently co-authored a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Review of the Identity-matching Services Bill 2018 and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2018 that provides the legislative basis for The Capability.

 

 

Publication: The limits of (digital) constitutionalism: Exploring the privacy-security (im)balance in Australia

Crime and Justice Research Centre members Dr Monique Mann and Dr Angela Daly, along with Justice PhD Candidate Michael Wilson, and QUT Law Associate Professor Nic Suzor recently published ‘The limits of (digital) constitutionalism: Exploring the privacy-security (im)balance in Australia’ in the International Communication Gazette.

 Abstract

This article explores the challenges of digital constitutionalism in practice through a case study examining how concepts of privacy and security have been framed and contested in Australian cyber security and telecommunications policy-making over the last decade. The Australian Government has formally committed to ‘internet freedom’ norms, including privacy, through membership of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC). Importantly, however, this commitment is non-binding and designed primarily to guide the development of policy by legislators and the executive government. Through this analysis, we seek to understand if, and how, principles of digital constitutionalism have been incorporated at the national level. Our analysis suggests a fundamental challenge for the project of digital constitutionalism in developing and implementing principles that have practical or legally binding impact on domestic telecommunications and cyber security policy. Australia is the only major Western liberal democracy without comprehensive constitutional human rights or a legislated bill of rights at the federal level; this means that the task of ‘balancing’ what are conceived as competing rights is left only to the legislature. Our analysis shows that despite high-level commitments to privacy as per the Freedom Online Coalition, individual rights are routinely discounted against collective rights to security. We conclude by arguing that, at least in Australia, the domestic conditions limit the practical application and enforcement of digital constitutionalism’s norms.

Keywords

Cyber security, digital constitutionalism, human rights, metadata retention, online surveillance, privacy, security, securitization

You can read the full article here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1748048518757141?journalCode=gazb#articleShareContainer

 

 

Is privacy still relevant in the modern age?

Is privacy still relevant in the modern age? That is the question being debated by Crime and Justice Research Centre researcher Dr Monique Mann and PhD Student Michael Wilson and Professor David Lacey.

The OAIC’s Deputy Commissioner, Angelene Falk, will open the event, with the Queensland Privacy Commissioner, Philip Green, taking on the role of debate moderator.

If you have been wondering about the relevance of privacy, register now to secure your spot. This event is co-hosted with the Institute for Future Environments at QUT.

EVENT DETAILS

Tuesday 13 March 2018 at 6:00pm

The Forum (P419)
P Block, Level 4, QUT Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane, Queensland 4000

Register here: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?embed&eid=350725

US warrants could be used to access Australian data

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CJRC member Dr Monique Mann spoke to the ABC today about the upcoming US Supreme Court case US v Microsoft Ireland.

This case has global significance as the US government’s position would effectively undermine the data protection and privacy laws of other countries by giving the US government the power to unilaterally seize data no matter where it is located (and without regard for laws protecting that data).

Dr Mann and Dr Ian Warren (Deakin University) examine this case in their chapter in the recently published Palgrave Handbook of Criminology and the Global South.

In Dr Mann’s role as Co-Chair of the Surveillance Committee and Director of the Australian Privacy Foundation she led Australian efforts to join an Amicus Brief by Privacy International in a coalition of 25 international human and digital rights organisations in support of Microsoft in the US Supreme Court case.

To read the chapter click here.

To read the ABC article click here.

 

Event: Attacks on Encryption – Privacy, Civil Society and the Surveillance State

Join the Australian Privacy FoundationDigital Rights Watch AustraliaFuture Wise, and the QUT Crime and Justice Research Centre at ThoughtWorks Brisbane to discuss ‘Attacks on Encryption: Privacy, Civil Society, and the Surveillance State.’

The Australian Government’s intention to pursue new and increased powers to access encrypted communications via statutorily required ‘backdoors’ has been met with wide-ranging privacy and information security concerns.

On 5 October 2017, a panel of encryption experts, international privacy law experts, academics, politicians, digital rights advocates, and journalists will unpack the social and technical consequences of the proposed new ‘backdooring’ powers.

At present, it is unclear if Australia’s laws will require so-called ‘backdoor’ vulnerabilities to be built into messaging applications like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. However, if this were to occur, it would enable government access to these services via decryption keys and/or enable remote access to devices for interception of communications “at the ends”. Experts argue that these powers are unnecessary and should be highly concerning for Australians who, unlike other western democracies, do not have a constitutional right to privacy.

This Attacks on Encryption event is relevant to anyone concerned about security and responsible governance and will cover the consequences of engineering ‘backdoors’ into commercially available encryption software, the issues associated with companies being compelled to decrypt user data, and forcing the design of communications tools that allow government interception.

Speakers include:

  • Former Senator Mr Scott Ludlam: Surveillance politics
  • Angela Daly, Digital Rights Watch Australia and QUT Law: Legal dimensions of the global #waronmaths
  • Justin Clacherty, Redfish Group, Australian Privacy Foundation, and Future Wise: Government attacks on encryption and civil society coalition campaigns
  • Robin Doherty, ThoughtWorks and Hack for Privacy and Eru Penkman, ThoughtWorks and brisSafety: Breaking Encryption for Dummies
  • Brenda Moon, QUT Digital Media Research Centre and Felix Münch, PhD Candidate QUT Digital Media Research Centre: Encryption for journalists
  • Michael Wilson, QUT Justice PhD Candidate: The contested moral legitimacy of encryption ‘backdoors’
  • Discussant: Phil Green, QLD Privacy Commissioner

The event will be hosted at ThoughtWorks Brisbane with catering and refreshments provided, but we will also be live streaming and providing remote links via the cyber.

For more information and speaker biographies and abstracts: https://www.attacks-on-encryption.com/

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/attacks-on-encryption-privacy-civil-society-and-the-surveillance-state-tickets-37527225943

Note: The event is currently sold out with a waitlist but in the event that CJRC members register then tickets will be released to them as priority attendees.

For further information contact Dr Monique Mann as event organiser.

CJRC Privacy Expert Discusses the ‘RoboDebt Data Matching Scandal’

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CJRC researcher and privacy expert Dr Monique Mann from the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, recently spoke to New Matilda about the RoboDebt data matching scandal.

Dr Mann compares the robo-debt fiasco to the movie I, Daniel Blake. “It’s a Kafka-esque nightmare,” she told New Matilda in an interview. “There are real questions about the reliability of the data and the program used to match data between Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office.” Read more

Upcoming Event at Deakin University: Public Seminar on Policing, Cyberspace and Surveillance

Deakin University Criminology

On Monday 28th November (10:30am-1pm) Deakin Criminology is holding a public seminar examining the broad theme of Policing, Cyberspace, Surveillance. All are welcome and can attend at Deakin Waterfront Campus (D3.321), Burwood Campus (F2.009) or via VMP (03-5223-9354). Critical discussion will be framed around the following three papers. Read more