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Privacy and data protection

2019

The Supreme Court of Jamaica has found Jamaica’s national identification system in violation of the constitution and by unanimous decision declared the entire National Identification and Registration Act (NIRA) void.  In a judgement delivered on 12 April, the court found that mandatory requirement of biometric identification abrogated the right to privacy.

NIRA was enacted in December 2017 and was yet to be operationalised. The law provided for establishment of a central databank that would consolidate identity and demographic information of persons in Jamaica. It had made it a criminal offence for a person not to register under the new law.  The court reviewed aspects of the impugned Act alongside Jamaica’s constitutional history and concluded that migration to digital identification was a significant change to Jamaican society. The new system, they found, went beyond identification of persons to a repository of biographical information that could potentially serve as digital surveillance.

The case had been instituted by a Member of Parliament and People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Julian Robinson.

Wikileaks' Julian Assange's political asylum was revoked by the Ecuadorian Embassy on 11 April 2019, and he was arrested by UK police.  One view explains the revocation from an Ecuadorian practical asylum standpoint in Why Ecuador ended asylum for 'spoiled brat' Julian Assange and Assange's arrest was designed to make sure he didn't press a mysterious panic button he said would bring dire consequences for Ecuador. Others have reported the detention as A sad day for human rights, for freedom of expression and for Ecuador.

Some do not consider the WikiLeaks publishing of documents to be a crime, rather, the hacking and leaking that opened the documents to scrutiny, for which Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Assange is facing extradition on charges for helping hack one of the passwords.

 

An international study of pre-installed Android apps highlight the privacy and security risks posed by pre-installed Android apps. According to TechCrunch, the study unearths ‘a complex ecosystem of players with a primary focus on advertising and “data-driven services” — which they argue the average Android user is unlikely to be unaware of’. In El Pais, the authors of the study indicate that they created the app Firmware Scanner to pick up pre-installed software on mobile phones of volunteers, to see how personal data can be sent to a broad network of interested parties.

After the upcoming federal elections, consultations on a new draft legislation on privacy will begin in the second half of the year in Australia. The Australian government is currently considering increasing penalties for privacy breaches within the Privacy Act. According to Zdnet, maximum penalties could be increased substantially, up to AU$10 million.

According to CNBC, four Uber drivers in the UK are filing a lawsuit against the company over allegations that the firm has continuously failed to comply with the GDPR. The drivers claim Uber breached data protection rules by repeatedly failing to provide them with information, such as the duration of time they spent logged onto the platform, their individual GPS data, and trip ratings.

Finland’s data protection authority is investigating Nokia owner HMD over claims its mobile devices have sent data to Chinese servers. According to Engadget, the probe follows a report by NRK claiming to have proof that Nokia phones are transmitting sensitive information to China.  

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