JOINT MEDIA RELEASE BY ELECTRONIC FRONTIERS AUSTRALIA, FUTURE WISE, AUSTRALIAN PRIVACY FOUNDATION, AND DIGITAL RIGHTS WATCH

In light of the revelations that Cambridge Analytica has reportedly misused the data of over 50 million people on Facebook, Australia’s leading digital and civil rights advocates call on all Australian governments and political parties to categorically answer the following questions:

  • Have you, at any time, engaged the services of Cambridge Analytica or its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories?
  • Have you, at any time, been provided with data on Australian citizens by Cambridge Analytica or its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories?
  • Have you ever provided any Government data such as voter rolls to Cambridge Analytica or its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories?
  • Do you believe that the linkage of this sort of data to generate sensitive political data meets the definition of consent required by Australian law?

Many Australian political parties and ministers have reportedly met with Cambridge Analytica over the past few years. We must know who in the Australian political sphere believes in informed consent, and who does not.

The New York Times and The Guardian have reported that Cambridge Analytica accessed the Facebook profiles of 50 million people without their informed consent. People who trusted Facebook to keep their private information private; people who did not give their informed consent that their data be shared in this way. Facebook has since suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform, as well as its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories.

Australian governments are pushing to collect more and more data on Australians, and to link it with larger and larger datasets. Australians must be confident that the custodians of our data will look after our best interests, proactively, and with due care and skill. We must know that our data is not being collected merely for narrow, self-interested reasons. We must be sure that this data is not being shared without our informed consent.

These should be simple questions for any government or political party to answer. We look forward to seeing how trustworthy they really are.

MEDIA CONTACTS
For Electronic Frontiers Australia
Justin Warren
Phone: 0412 668 526
Email: [email protected]

For Future Wise
Dr Trent Yarwood
Phone: 0403 819 234
Email: [email protected]

For Australian Privacy Foundation
Liam Pomfret
Email: [email protected]

For Digital Rights Watch
Tim Singleton Norton
Email: [email protected]

1 comment

  1. to be very cynical, we only can trust them to be honest in their replies. have we any way to verify their response? the track record, isn't a good one. Australia is also a part of "five eyes" which can be, and there has been good reason to believe it is being used to bypass each country's laws protecting it's citizens right to privacy, and prevent governments from spying on them. Also Australia has a pricing policy on FOI requests that seems designed to prevent any scrutiny. The more requests that need to made to find all information relating to a particular inquiry, the more it costs. I am more concerned by the trend that this a part of. Our successive administrations have not only introduced more laws, protecting itself from scrutiny, by reducing the means of access, but increasing penalties for any individual or entity that breaks those laws. the lack of transparency is nearly to point of being a police state. I have no legal or other education on the the legal definition of a police state. but I don't think strict definitions apply. The fact that we are coming under increasing criticism from human rights groups, even from the U.N. should be some serious warning bells on where we are heading. I would hope the response to your media release, would be honest, but as nobody has any legal requirement to even reply. I think it be ignored. Not that I would believe any of them unless they admit it. I am not saying this is a waste of time, but by itself, it can't achieve anything, but it does start some debate and awareness. We are running out of options as a nation, if we want to be a free one

    Comment by Gary Mills on 14 July 2018 at 19:48