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Humane Technology Australia News

Vaccine Passport and Home Quarantine App Security Concerns

3 Oct 2021

States and territories are hurrying to implement vaccine certificates in check-in and standalone apps ahead of reopening.  NSW Digital Minister, Victor Dominello, has indicated that personalised QR codes, a crucial authenticity verification measure, will not be ready in the initial rollout within the Service NSW app.

The Medicare Plus App, which has been recommended in the interim, has been easily spoofed using so-called "man-in-the-middle" attacks.  Other fake check-in apps and certificates have been created and are available on the darkweb.

Government is upgrading to recommended security levels, using visible digital seal technology, backed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.  Without such security approaches, there is no guarantee that anyone who shows their app indeed has a level of immunity or is exempt as they claim.

South Australia and NSW are trialling quarantine-at-home apps, which use geolocation and facial-recognition technology to periodically check you are at home.  The approach has had some backlash from civil liberty groups, partly due to encroaching normalisation of tracking technology, and partly due to the limited and fast-paced development of policies around it.

News from SMH (1) (2) | The Guardian | ABC (forged certificate) (quarantine at home) | 7 News

Australian Facebook Page Owners Liable for Comments

1 Oct 2021

Media companies might have had a win against big tech earlier in the year with the media bargaining code, but they have now been dealt a blow by a ruling from the High Court which will see Australian Facebook Page owners liable for defamatory comments made in reply to their posts.

The ruling was intended to target media companies, but in its current state applies to any Page owner.  This is especially a concern for smaller organisations who lack moderation resources.  Comments can be switched off for posts, but doing so may affect their prominence in news feeds, since engagement is one of the variables taken into account in news feed curation algorithms.

CNN has already responded by saying they will no longer be publishing content on Facebook to Australian audiences.

News from CNN | ABC | Guardian | The Verge

YouTube Bans Vaccine Mis-information

1 Oct 2021

YouTube has revised their medical misinformation policies to remove content which claims medically approved vaccines are dangerous, ineffective or cause chronic health effects.

Comments on vaccine policy, vaccines historically, or personal experiences are still allowed.

This move is sure to ruffle some freedom of speech feathers, but the policy is clearly designed to target opinion at odds with factual information which has undergone the rigorous scrutiny of medical systems.

Read more on the YouTube blog

Centre for Humane Technology's Online Course

30 Sep 2021

CHT has just launched the Foundations of Humane Technology course, which prepares product teams to create technology that treats attention and intention as sacred, protects well-being, minimises unforeseen consequences, and ultimately builds our collective capacity to address the most urgent challenges facing humanity

Find out more on the CHT homepage

eSafety Commissioner Updates Australian Online Safety Act

30 Sep 20201

An update to the Online Safety Act was passed by Australian Government in June, and will come into effect in January 2022.

The Act outlines requirements which online platforms and individuals need to comply with around issues such removal of cyber-bulling content.  The rules mandate a 24hr time limit to take-down offending content, increase the powers of the government to obtain offenders' account information, and add specific guidance on image-based abuse (such as so-called 'revenge porn').

Read more about updates to the act