Thursday, April 30, 2015

Your Privacy is Important to Us

I really did not have anything ready to publish this morning, but here is curiosity I discovered this week. We are no longer able to look up the electoral roll to find out someone's address. This must have happened under the conservative Bailleu/Napthine state government. Privacy reasons, I expect.

Births, deaths and marriage records are now only available to the general public once they are 'historical'. Privacy reasons, I expect.

I cannot discuss my mother's medical issues with her doctor. Privacy reasons, I expect.

Some of our Highrise utilities are in R's name, some in mine. I can't deal with the ones in his name and he can't deal with the ones in mine. Privacy reasons, I expect. (I pretend I am him. I know his birth date and his mother's maiden name.)

R has his own mobile in his own name, but for some reason, perhaps bundling, I have almost full control of his mobile phone, including records. Yet, there are certain things I cannot do with his mobile phone. Privacy reasons I expect, gone wrong I expect. 

Have we been clamouring our governments with pleas for privacy? I don't think so. I smell the strong arms of conservative governments at work here, protecting the rich and powerful.

26 comments:

  1. Not to mention the Coalition government's winding back of tax-disclosure laws, justified on the basis of fears of "kidnapping." You may remember that fears of kidnapping featured in the Rinehart family dispute as well and you may well think that this wind-back is another of many examples of what Gina wants, she gets.

    I feel a bit differently about electoral rolls, because an argument can be made that hitherto publically available information becomes more of an intrusion on privacy if the digital age makes it more accessible and searchable than before.

    But then we never get a look in when technology gives the state (and any deep pocketed litigant who may manage to subpoena our metadata) more means of checking up on us and supervising our lives. That's one area where a lot of ordinary people may well be shouting out for practical privacy, even if it means privacy to break the law in minor ways which once would have passed without notice as not harming or affecting any other person.

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    1. Marcellous, a very good point about the tax laws. I think everyone may already know Gina has a bob or two, so clearly there was more to it.

      Yes, digitising the record and having it available to the public does make it more accessible, but it always has been accessible, just requiring a good bit of effort to search. Ready access, as against manual searching should not mean the information is no longer available. It could be non-searchable from anywhere except the departmental offices, and so still requiring some effort, which I think was probably already the case. I am not sure if this is federal or state legislation. I assumed state, but probably not.

      This meta data being available is of great concern. At the moment it seems benign, but who knows what the future will bring. I am sure Hitler and Pol Pot would have liked access to metadata.

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  2. My aunt, residing in a nursing home with a cocktail of conditions that include dementia, has had no contact with her children and grandchildren for many years.

    I, as her only other living blood relative, was asked by the nursing home to visit her which I did weekly until in her demented state she said she didn't want me visiting. So I obliged. Now when I enquire about my aunt's health and general condition of the nursing home I am told that they cannot discuss her with me for privacy reasons.

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    1. Victor, that is odd, as you are surely a close relative and concerned. Do you know the criteria for being worthy of receiving information? Unless, the home is acting under someone's instructions.

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  3. Andrew, in Poland privacy is very important . It is forbidden to look at the electoral list. And rules are the same

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    1. Thanks Gosia. I did wonder how it works around the world.

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  4. It's amazing you can post every day I only manage once a week.
    I never understand why it's so hard to get information about friends who are sick in hospital as you are not a blood relation they tell you nothing.
    Merle...........

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    1. Merle, very time poor this week and I may miss one day soon. Yes re information about friends. Maybe patients could inform hospitals of who friends are and that information can be given to them. Even to families when you ring up, they don't tell you much.

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  5. Being that it's our information they are keeping private - will he/nil he - then we should be able to specify who we want to be able to access it. Oh wait, that might be a bit too much like work.

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    1. Jac, that sounds just too obvious and sensible, so I can't see it happening.

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  6. At the same time, there is _less_ privacy than ever before. I am not against CCTV cameras, but I do recognise that you cannot even scratch your bum in the streets without it being recorded and used by the police etc.

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    1. Hels, or pick your nose in the lift, not that I would do such a thing. And what about how your cards track you around, MYKI, building access cards etc etc.

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  7. Privacy with so many things. I find the most frustration one is the phone.
    I had no problems with my father's accounts or medical problems when he was alive, no doubt due to me having Enduring power of Attorney. Permission was also in all records, so that when I phoned or whatever I struck no denial from anyone.

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    1. WA, yes power of attorney is the thing to have. Phone companies seem to be particularly difficult.

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  8. Ha ha I used to rather enjoy telling people no when they tried to access other peoples accounts, when I was at CL. They were always so adamant.

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    1. Fen, I too would take pleasure in dong that. Interesting that they are closing down the 'office'.

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    2. Most of the call centre is overseas now, not surprised.

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  9. Big Brother using your tax dollars to their advantage I suspect.
    "I pretend I am him", ha ha, same here. my two daughters and I all sound very similar on the phone, so if I need something worked out and haven't a clue or simply can't get something done, I call K and she takes care of it for me. She has all my details.

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    1. River, it is great that you have family you can trust

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  10. I think it's the same the world over Andrew. Here, they call it "data protection" after the parliamentary act which was introduced to protect us from privacy intrusion. Given how many peoples identify are apparently stolen, I question how effective it is!

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    1. "identities" I meant...

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    2. Craig, I am instantly thinking about stolen identities and there doesn't seem much will here to do anything about that.

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  11. It certainly can be frustrating Andrew, although when my mum was ill the doctors wouldn't dare hold anything back from my sister and I, we were probably a wee bit scary :)

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    1. Grace, I can well imagine :)

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  12. Do you have Power of Attorney? You also have to have medical PoA and then the doctor can discuss your mother with her permission or you can talk to the doctor if you're worried about her.

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    1. Jah Teh, you told me about the importance of these quite a few years ago. I raised it with Mother and my siblings and it received a very cool response. I only want to talk to her doctor to tell him to stop mucking around with her weekly visits and treat her for the real problem, anxiety.

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