Internet, communications and other technologies
Mobile Phones and Your Privacy
As part of this year's Privacy Awareness Week celebrations, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner joined together with the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to encourage Australians to think about privacy and security when using their mobile phones.
"Mobilise Your Mobile Phone Privacy" is a new pocket-sized quick reference guide with 10 simple tips to help mobile phone users protect their own privacy.
Copies of the pocket guide are available from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner by emailing email@example.com.
See also the joint media release launching the guide.
Advances in technology, including the internet, have dramatically changed the way we collect and use personal information. Personal information can be transferred globally and more rapidly now than ever before. This has influenced the way we think about privacy and the protection of personal information.
What technologies may impact on my privacy?
Many new technologies involve the handling of personal information and therefore have the potential to impact on our privacy. The impacts can be positive or not so positive, depending on how the technology is used. Just a few examples of these new and emerging technologies include:
- Bluetooth technology
- Transport technologies such as electronic tolls, GPS navigation systems and automatic number plate recognition systems
- Smart cards (credit cards with a chip)
- Radio-frequency identification (RFIDs) tags on goods you purchase
- Biometrics (facial recognition e.g. new passports).
It is important to remember that not all technologies are privacy intrusive. If privacy is built into the design many new technologies are capable of being privacy enhancing.
As part of its policy role, the Office provides advice to agencies and organisations as to the potential privacy risks of such emerging technologies. Developing a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is an effective way to identify and minimise privacy impacts.
How do I protect myself online?
To help safeguard your privacy, the Australian Government has released a StaySmartOnline website with information and tips on how you can protect yourself online.
Cybersmart, developed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, provides resources and practical advice to help young kids, kids, teens and parents safely enjoy the online world.
What are the privacy risks associated with social networking?
Social networking has become an extremely popular online activity that allows people to: socialise online, send messages to one another, share interests and information, chat, and post information, photos and videos.
Like many activities on the web, there are some privacy risks associated with social networking, but these can be lessened by taking steps to protect your personal information online. To find out more about how to protect your personal information when using social networking sites, see our FAQs.
Other places to go
- Guide to handling personal information security breaches.
- Information Sheet 26 - Interaction between the Privacy Act and the Spam Act.
- Got a question on spam? Chances are someone's asked it before. See our Frequently Asked Questions on spam.
- Information on spam is available on the Direct Marketing page.
- If you think an agency or organisation has misused your personal information, you can make a complaint. To find out more, see Complaints.