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Google Australia Privacy

New Australian Privacy Laws Could Have Ramifications On Google Glass 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the glass-half-empty dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Recording private conversations or activities using Google's Glass eyewear or similar wearable technologies without consent could become illegal under a push to overhaul Australian state and federal privacy laws. From the article: 'The Australian Law Reform Commission discussion paper, released on Monday morning, recommended 47 legislative changes aimed at updating existing privacy laws for the digital age. It proposed the government introduce a statutory cause of action for a serious invasion of one’s privacy, in what would be the first time a person’s privacy has legally been protected in Australia. It also recommended harmonising rules for using technology to monitor and record authors, which are currently legislated by state governments, to deal with the implications of new technologies such as wearable devices and drones.'"
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New Australian Privacy Laws Could Have Ramifications On Google Glass

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  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday March 31, 2014 @01:12AM (#46618779) Journal

    Information is for the state. You will not record and share among yourselves. You will not become more aware.

    You will not develop the capacity to police yourselves. That is for the state.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hardly a horrible statist intrusion to prevent people from secretly recording private conversations. That seems like common sense to me.

      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        Why is secretly recording phone calls worse than recording them without your consent?

        When you phone your bank or just about any other corporation you get the typical "this phone call may be recorded for training etc purposes", good luck finding a bank/big industry that doesn't do that.

        So corporations record everything.

        But what if you are a whistle blower, what if you merely want evidence of wrong-doing. Now you can't have it, that's hardly fair is it? Or a journalist?

        Make a law to prevent very personal priv

    • by rvw (755107)

      Information is for the state. You will not record and share among yourselves. You will not become more aware.

      You will not develop the capacity to police yourselves. That is for the state.

      The funny thing is that these devices only make it easier for the state to record what you do. So preventing that is a good thing. It makes them a bit less powerful.

      • But are we still allowed to shoot movies of police officers?

        • It's framed as invasion of privacy. So a police officer or the police force would have to prove you invaded an officer's privacy. Which you might do if you filmed him at home, or whilst going to the toilet for example. Or even during a lunch break.

          But it would be hard to make a case that filming a police officer whilst exercising his police powers would be an invasion of privacy.

          (They might try that of course, but any reasonable justice system shouldn't accept it.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TapeCutter (624760)

      You will not develop the capacity to police yourselves. That is for the state.

      We developed the capacity to police ourselves a long time ago, the tool we use for that is called the rule of law, it's enforced by courts and (wait for it...) the police. If you have a better idea I assure you I and many others are all ears [azlyrics.com], but the naïve notion that people will nice to each other if "government just gets out of the way" was disproven with every one of the thousands of hippie communes that started and failed in my youth during the late 60's early seventies. It was said to be the large

      • even the most tenuous grasp of history says that given the opportunity [prisonexp.org] we won't "just all get along".

        I wonder what would happen if the experiment got repeated with, say, schizoids, or other population groups distinctly different in interpersonal interaction patterns. Being a schizoid myself, I find the events of the experiment only slightly more puzzling than many other events happening in the society at large. But then again, my hope for more "self-policing" society relies on the notion of humanity getting replaced by more rational sentient beings such as possible future machines.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          I wonder what would happen if the experiment got repeated with, say, schizoids, or other population groups distinctly different in interpersonal interaction patterns.

          The same thing. Not necessarily in the same way, or even in the same situation, but in some situations and in some pathological ways. The problem isn't that people are irrational or evil, the problem is that people have limited processing capabilities, so the more objects - such as other people - they need to keep track of, the simpler the men

      • by Sabriel (134364)

        Why did you interpret the GP as objecting to the rule of law? I interpreted the GP as objecting to the rule of tyranny.

        Here's my "better idea": instead of making it illegal to record the second party without their consent, make it illegal to volunteer the recording to a third party.

        Because that's what we're _really_ objecting to, isn't it? I mean, every human on earth already carries a device that records everything they see and hear for later review anyway. Does it truly matter whether they have another? A

        • by Sabriel (134364)

          edit: to "make it illegal to volunteer the recording to a third party" append "without the second party's consent".

        • Yep, the devil is in the details and when I look at things like the (democratically mandated) gulags my government is running for "boat people", this issue amounts to naught but a trivial distraction.

          I mean, every human on earth already carries a device that records everything they see and hear for later review anyway.

          I'm in my 50's, I haven't owned a mobile phone for well over 5yrs now, does that mean I'm not human? Wasn't deliberate, the old phone died and I simply said to myself I will get another one when I figure out why I wanted one in the first place...

          • Sabriel wasn't talking about mobile phones. He was alluding to the organic recording device located inside your skull.

      • Throwing out "the state" is the easy bit, the real problem has always been and will always be - then what, Napoleon, Mugabe? - We already know anarchy does not work, if it did we wouldn't be "trapped" within our respective democratic nation sates at this point in our evolution, right?

        Actually, Anarchy DOES work, and HAS worked. The word, and the concept, come from the ancient city-state of Athens, which isn't known for being full of fools.

        It worked in Spain, and from a historical perspective, very recently.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

        When Anarchy was instituted, productivity went UP, not down. People work harder, smarter and better when they don't feel like they're working to enrich someone else.

        The problem was that systems with flat power structures are not as efficient at reac

  • Eventually we will get to the point where we just record our experiences without the need of cameras. I doubt this is even 50 years away. Society will have to get used to a post-privacy world eventually. Simple devices such as the Google Glass seem to be as good a start as any.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Society will have to get used to a post-privacy world eventually.

      Society will have to get used to murder and tyranny eventually. A post-privacy world is a world where the government can do as it pleases, regardless of whether people like it or not.

      • by ranton (36917)

        Society will have to get used to a post-privacy world eventually.

        Society will have to get used to murder and tyranny eventually. A post-privacy world is a world where the government can do as it pleases, regardless of whether people like it or not.

        Then we need to start figuring out if there are ways to preserve liberty without privacy, because pretending that most public interactions will not be recorded in the near future is silly. The technology will be there, and it will be too powerful for governments to just outlaw (and as you insinuate they have little incentive to even try). I would rather us not just stick our head in the sand and actually start to evolve as a society. Our civilization changed from small close knit communities where there was

        • I wrote an essay on this very topic a few weeks ago entitled "Privacy and Secrecy" and published it in my journal.

          http://slashdot.org/~ShieldW0l... [slashdot.org]

          No easy answers to be found in it, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I believe that what it really boils down to is, my privacy doesn't come from you not knowing what I'm doing, it comes from you not forcing me to interact with or acknowledge you.

          You want to experience this for yourself? Go piss in a urinal. The other guy is right there. Yo

  • not private (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Monday March 31, 2014 @01:56AM (#46618897)

    Google Glass only records from a first person point of view, and is less sensitive than normal human eyes or ears. So, pretty much by definition, if it can be recorded by Google Glass, it isn't private: the person doing the recording needs to be visibly present to record the information.

    What such laws are really primarily aimed at are to protect government officials, politicians, and the rich and famous from having their wrongdoings documented.

    • Not necessarily. We already have a similar law in place. It's illegal to videotape you, make pictures of you or record you in any other way unless you give prior consent, unless you are a "person of public interest", i.e. a celebrity, a politician or similar.

      • Huh, where? I think there was some retarded law like this passed in Hungary or something recently.
        In most countries you can take photos of pretty much anything in the public. The only limitations are usually for commercial use of a photo of a person.
        And for that celebrities and politicians have both more and less protections, since they tend to be fair game for quite invasive "press" photos but any attempt to use their image to promote products and services will result in much bigger damages than for Joe Ra

        • Not commercial, any use is restricted! I believe you won't like it if I take a photo of you and publish it in an inappropriate context on facebook, e.g

        • by Anonymous Coward
          If you take photos in the city street of individuals and publish them for a commercial use then yes in many countries you really ARE required to get consent of everyone in the photo. We had to do this for an TV Ad we were doing in Australia. This law only pertains to publications though, if you are doing such public photography and recording for private use only the laws do not apply.
          • The exception here is if it's an event, or if the individual is behaving in such a way where they are making a spectacle out of themselves. Then, there's an expectation that you might be filmed if you're participating, and you don't have the right to demand your likeness not be published / broadcast.

            However, just walking down the street doesn't qualify, and that's where Google Glass gets into trouble since most states expect that if you do take a picture of someone who isn't aware they're being photographed

        • If you're taking a picture of a big, populated place and it's obvious that the place (or the landmark in it) is the focus of the picture rather than a single person, you do not need consent.

          In the end, a judge can be bothered to decide. Usually it's quite obvious what's the focus. If you "just so happen" to take pictures of various landmarks and a certain someone just so happens to be there every time, it's kinda unlikely that the judge will side with you.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        We already have a similar law in place. It's illegal to videotape you, make pictures of you or record you in any other way unless you give prior consent

        And you live where? North Korea?

        • No, didn't you read? I said it's NOT illegal to take pics of the "important" people, only of the "unimportant" ones. In NK it would probably be the other way around. Provided that they'd have to worry about recording equipment in private hands, that is.

      • Re:not private (Score:4, Informative)

        by Truth_Quark (219407) on Monday March 31, 2014 @04:29AM (#46619275) Journal

        Not necessarily. We already have a similar law in place. It's illegal to videotape you, make pictures of you or record you in any other way unless you give prior consent, unless you are a "person of public interest", i.e. a celebrity, a politician or similar.

        Not in Australia.

        You are able to make any recording of anyone so long as you do it from public property with a very few particular exceptions.

        • You need to obtain consent to use it for commercial purpose
        • You need to obtain consent if the person is undressed or engaged in a private act, and they're in circumstances where a reasonable person would reasonably expect to be afforded privacy, and you're taking the photo for sexual gratification
        • You can't take an indecent photograph of someone under 16. (That's with or without consent, and unlike the two above, this one is criminal).

        There's laws against workplace surveillance by employers, and there are laws against peeping and against being a public nuisance, which means interfering with someone else's enjoyment of a public place, but broadly speaking, if you can see it, you can photograph it.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Actually it's more complicated than that. The law in Australia is based around a reasonable expectation of privacy, even when in a public place.

          You taking a photo of someone walking down the street, fair game.
          You taking a photo of someone sitting in the far corner of an otherwise public alleyway, not fair game.

          The courts have ruled that even in public places some people's actions can be considered as "private" in nature and thus you're not allowed to photograph. That said this needs to be proved in the cour

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Not in most EU countries or the USA/Canada. It is legal as all get out to film/photograph you on public streets without your consent.

        Oh here is another kicker, if I can see you from a public place I can film/photograph you, yes if you are in your back yard on your private property, if I can see you from public property, I can take photos and film you all I want.

        Another fun one, I can take photos from an airplane of you as well. so that high fence around your patio is not in my way.

        • Whoa, please tell me that I'll avoid your home country like the plague.

          Here, recording me out in public MIGHT be ok if you can somehow show that your focus was not me but some special landmark or someone else (who gave you permission). So you making a movie of some celebrity walking by and I stand there and am in the picture for a moment, it's ok, since I was not what you wanted to tape.

          Taking a picture of me in my back yard is out of the question, though. No matter what you claim to record.

      • Not necessarily. We already have a similar law in place. It's illegal to videotape you, make pictures of you or record you in any other way unless you give prior consent, unless you are a "person of public interest", i.e. a celebrity, a politician or similar.

        Man, I bet the lobbyists for your security camera businesses are outraged. Oh, wait, that's right...

      • by mrsquid0 (1335303)

        That is not the case in Canada or in the US. In fact, in most jurisdictions in these two countries it completely legal to record anything that occurs in a place. There are some exceptions, but for the most part it is legal for you to record anything that you want.

    • What needs to happen is that a VERY bright red light needs to be activated when Google Glass is recording. The light needs to be visible across a room.
      • by Agent ME (1411269)

        Should we legislate for people's eyes to cast bright lights too while they're seeing?

        • by aXis100 (690904)

          Let me know when poeple's eyes can play back things they have seen. With the exception of an high functioning savant with a knack for drawing sceneries, most of us cant do this.

          • by mrbester (200927)

            I see the last moments of my victims every time I close my eyes. Keeps me warm at night.

        • Perception versus recording. It's a huge difference.

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          its not the recording that people typically object to - its the replay.

          The people using Google Glass aren't exactly journalists trying to record everything that will be discarded unless its actually newsworthy, they'll be 'hipsters' recording what they can to post to Youtube in the hope that it'll go viral/trend and make themselves a ton of advertising cash.

          If google changed its policies that the subject of a video was the one receiving ad revenue for posted videos, I think there would be a lot less glass w

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          Only when their memories can be uploaded to the internet.

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Yes. Then we can ban electtical tape, markers, paint, and anything else that can be used to conceal that bright led light.

        Of course people would need to know what that bright red light is. I think a series of prime time commercials explaining the concept of the idiots with bright red lights mean should ensue so everyone knows when they are being watched.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Why stop there, can't we also add a 190db horn that fires every 15 seconds?

      • What needs to happen is that a VERY bright red light needs to be activated when Google Glass is recording.

        How about making it in the form of a laser, pointing directly into the wearer's retina.

    • Re:not private (Score:5, Informative)

      by mjwx (966435) on Monday March 31, 2014 @03:33AM (#46619127)

      Google Glass only records from a first person point of view, and is less sensitive than normal human eyes or ears. So, pretty much by definition, if it can be recorded by Google Glass, it isn't private: the person doing the recording needs to be visibly present to record the information.

      Australia is considerably more laid back about public recordings. Currently laws cover publication/syndication rather than recordings. So you can within reason record things in public (including the police) but publishing them without consent is another thing. For example, if I were pulled over and recorded a conversation with a police officer on my dashcam (which is in plain sight) that could be used as evidence to defend myself in court thats fine, but If I publish that video on YouTube, I've done wrong.

      Laws on recording private conversations vary from state to state but many police forces in Australia have commented that they don't mind being recorded in public.

      But the article is a fluff piece from the AFR (Fairfax media) and the laws haven't be implemented or passed by parliament. In fact they haven't even been introduced into parliament. They're just a proposal from a commission that boils down to nothing more than political grandstanding. It's been a slow news day since Fairfax supports the current government and can only report on the good things they've done.... It's been a slow news day for them since the Abbott government was elected.

      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        Burning some mod points to respond - I think if you read the opinion pages and editorials of The Age you would have a different view of them supporting the Mad Monk's government. They get accused pretty heavily of being left leaning Labour party supporters. It's Murdoch's Newscorp who are the rabid LNP supporters.

    • I'm sure people would disagree with you that standing at a urinal in a public toilet should still be considered "private", and what you do there should not be able to be recorded by the person stood next to you and replayed for their enjoyment.

    • Fuck you.
    • The key word here is "recording". Something recorded is less private than something ephemerally witnessed by another person.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        No, it isn't, that's the point. Privacy is about the separation of an act from the public sphere, not how that act is observed. People who want to outlaw the recording of public acts misappropriate the term "privacy" in order to mislead people push through their agenda.

        Laws like this are trying to limit certain forms of public photography and public recording; they have nothing to do with privacy. If you want to limit public recording, make an argument for that, don't destroy the meaning of the word "privac

    • Google Glass only records from a first person point of view, and is less sensitive than normal human eyes or ears. So, pretty much by definition, if it can be recorded by Google Glass, it isn't private: the person doing the recording needs to be visibly present to record the information.

      "Private" doesn't mean "alone". And until there is the technology to directly transfer remembered images from one brain to another, "recording" is different than "seeing".

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        "Private" doesn't mean "alone".

        Indeed, it means "private". If you have a threesome, it's private, although you're not alone. In that case, if one of your partners is wearing Google Glass, that's between you three to work out. The case we're talking about here is where strangers record you. Whatever a stranger can see in a generally accessible place is, by definition, not "private".

  • While they are a Government body the Australian Law Reform Commission is almost completely powerless. They are "commissioned" by the government in power to look at a particular concept and they then report back. In this case the previous Labor government commissioned them to look into "What can we do to protect people's privacy!?!?!?!?" this was political grandstanding at the time and given each state is the one that determines the rules when it comes to privacy has absolutely no chance of being rolled ou

  • Hungary law requires photographers to ask permission to take pictures.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/... [slashdot.org]

    Just saying one is going to need to read up on local legalities if/when they visit a foreign country; disabling the appropriate Google glass feature as required.

    Check out Istanbul Turkey on Google Earth, many areas are like this (almost blacked out). Google glasses on the ground in that area could cause the wearer problems.

  • In other news in Australia our Attorney General is defending free speech, in particular the right to express racist views.

    So if you record someone being a racist in a public place, the racist calls the cops and get the witness to racism put in jail.

    (2 and half more years of these conservative loonatics)

    http://www.news.com.au/nationa... [news.com.au]

    • This isn't quite correct. The new legislation proposes that speech that may be arguably racist cannot be prosecuted if that speech is used in political discourse or debate. So if you were to abuse a person based upon their race then you would fall foul of the anti-racism laws. Just like the two girls who abused the Aboriginal man on the bus on the Gold Coast recently found out.

      However if you wished to push a view that a particular race should be discriminated against in a defined context, ie that you bel

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Monday March 31, 2014 @03:29AM (#46619121)

    This article is somewhat alarmist. There's nothing changing for Google Glass. The courts have successfully upheld the old privacy laws regardless of the technology used to invade privacy. The key part here is that the changes in laws doesn't actually change what is classed as private or public.

    - It's already illegal to record people in private without their consent, I don't understand where the AFR get's the idea that it's not.
    - If you're in a public place you're typically not going to bump into any privacy problems (legally anyway, some people go insane at the sight of a camera).

    Despite what the article says, nothing in the proposed changes make it illegal to record a public conversation. Australia's has a long history of case law that covers what is private and what is public. What these laws are doing is simply codifying the rules the court already apply.

    Nothing to see here, wearing Google Glass is not going to be illegal and you're free to record anything with Glass that you are free to record without Glass as you would right now. I.e. don't go peeking into your neighbours window.

  • Makes it sound like the government cares about your privacy while they continue to spy on everything you do: http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]
  • "Recording private conversations or activities using Google's Glass eyewear or similar wearable technologies without consent could become illegal "

    SO recording private conversations or activities using my cellphone or other recording device is 100% legal? No it's not.

    What is it with these incredibly low IQ politicians making laws that are 100% useless? there are existing laws that work just fine and fit the case perfectly.

  • ...about them? Are employees allowed to wear them at work? Including during meetings and other group activities?
  • It's not really about privacy if I'm allowed to film my family on vacation with a camera, but can't do the same with Google glass. If I'm in a public space, do I really have a right to privacy? I don't think I do.
  • These laws against recording in public are an early step toward curtailing freedom of speech. The recent popularity of variations on this, particularly with regard toward laws against recording police officers should be a tip-off.

    We already have laws that differentiate between what's acceptable in public versus private space: walking around naked, for instance. Blurring this line looks like something that favors those who would erode and limit the public space.

  • So, I'm reading this to include all police and retail security cameras.

    "Hi, welcome to Walmart, sign here to allow us to monitor you while you shop. Have a great day!"

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