If you are one of the millions of Australians working from home and using apps to maintain social life online in the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to look at what information and how much. Information you may unintentionally share with them.
What should I watch out for when downloading apps?
First of all, check the permissions requested by the app when you install or open it, depending on the platform you are using. Anything you don't think is relevant, don't allow it. If the app doesn't allow you to use it without accessing these features, ask yourself if it's worth it.
"Often the default settings for these types of services may not be set based on your privacy or security, so it's important to adjust your settings accordingly to ensure the security of your account," a said online safety commissioner Julie Inman-Grant.
"We also encourage users to read the terms and conditions of these services so that they understand what type of data is collected about them and how it is used, as well as the mechanism for reporting any abuse. This will help you limit the amount of personal information shared with the service or third parties. "
Do I have to worry about the data that apps collect at the time of the coronavirus?
Your attitude towards the data collected by these applications should not be different from when we are not in the middle of a pandemic. It is always good to be vigilant.
Is Houseparty safe?
Houseparty is a video conferencing application designed more for non-commercial purposes. The app has been around for about four years, but was picked up last year by Epic Games, the company behind the famous video game Fortnite. Its popularity has skyrocketed. It is estimated that it has been downloaded millions of times in the past few weeks, as more and more people are trapped at home and want to socialize.
Cybersecurity researchers have suggested that the application permissions he is looking for are consistent with those of a video conferencing application. It accesses your microphone and camera if you allow it, as well as Facebook contacts and friends if you provide it.
The other video conferencing platform that has grown in popularity in the coronavirus pandemic is Zoom. Similar to Houseparty, it's important to check permissions, but Zoom has had some privacy issues in the past.
Meetings are public without a password, so people can “zoom in” on them if meetings use the default settings. And last year, the company had a flaw that allowed hackers to hack into people's webcams via the app. This week, the company was also forced to fix its iOS app, which sends data to Facebook even if you don't connect via Facebook.
A number of built-in features may also be of concern, including one that shakes users who do not focus on the app for more than 30 seconds when a screen is shared.
Can I use the coronavirus app without being tracked?
This week, the federal government launched a new iOS and Android information app that basically mimics the information available on the Department of Health's website about the symptom checker, case counts, press releases and telephone numbers.
The main piece of personal information it collects is that if you voluntarily register to isolate yourself, it will ask for your location. Guardian Australia understands that information is only saved when their information is saved or changed (no continuous tracking) and is used by the government to determine where these self-insulators are located. for purposes of analysis, research and protection of public health.
On WhatsApp, the chat developed by the government with the help of Atlassian is an automated service that only provides information. It is not a method of sharing information with government, as the coronavirus application can. The only personal information the government collects is your phone number.
What about information that I provide to government by other means?
If you return to Australia in the coming weeks and beyond, the federal government has simply made it easy for a wide range of federal and state agencies to access your movements.
Thanks to new migration regulations, internal affairs have expanded the uses that can be made of information on passenger movement records. These documents include citizenship, visa class, passport number, departure date, flight number, planned place of disembarkation and final destination.
Under the rules, state police can access information for law enforcement and crime prevention, as well as for investigations of missing persons.
The Office of National Intelligence will have access to the information for its own purposes and to assist other agencies that carry out security checks.
The Australian Election Commission will have access to it for the purpose of "examining and treating voters who appear not to have voted in an election".
The 2020 instrument also clarified that fair labor ombudsman inspectors – who verify compliance with workplace laws – will have access to it.
State and federal privacy commissioners released a statement this week saying that privacy laws allow different jurisdictions to share personal information at a time like this, but urged governments to carry out privacy impact assessments to ensure that the processing of personal information is reasonable, necessary and proportionate.