This week in data – 17th May

This week, as part of Privacy Awareness Week, the OAIC have released the findings of the 2017 Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy survey revealing that more than two-thirds of Australians are more concerned about online privacy issues than they were five years ago.

When it comes to institutions, 79% of Australian institutions said they trusted hospitals – the highest amount for any industry or group. Another 59% said banking and finance, followed by 58% saying they trusted government. Only 40% said they considered insurance groups as trustworthy.

But though 79% of those surveyed said that they’re uncomfortable with organisations sharing data with other organisations, they don’t necessarily do anything about it, either – with 43% of people admitting that they don’t adjust privacy settings on their social media accounts. For a thorough look at what Australians believe about their privacy online, you can read the survey here.

The report paints a pretty clear picture that organisations need to improve their communication with customers about how their data is being used, who has access to it, and why.

Meanwhile, the biggest news in security this week is undoubtedly the rapid spread of a ransomware attack that affected millions of computers using Windows 10. The attack hit everything from small businesses to critical medical facilities, such as those controlled by the NHS in Britain.

As The Mandarin points out, Microsoft had already released a fix for the attack in March but too many organisations simply didn’t update their software to deal with it. The piece has a pretty stark warning for organisations of all types: shape up when it comes to taking proactive steps to prevent these attacks from crippling your systems.

Australians weren’t immune from the attack. Eight organisations have been confirmed as targets, which caused Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan to make his own proclamation: “this ransomware attack is a wake-up call”.

In other news…

WhatsApp has been fined three million Euros for not being sufficiently transparent enough about the data it was collecting. This particular incident had to do with the app’s takeover by Facebook, with the ruling stating that users weren’t told clearly enough they could refuse terms of service when their data was transferred over to the social media giant.

The Federal Budget had some good data news, with consumers now able to share their banking information with rival banks in order to see if they can get a better deal. The data could be used by websites to make better-informed product comparisons.


  • Apple’s working while you take a nap. The company’s latest acquisition, Beddit, builds devices to track how well you’re sleeping. No doubt the information gained will help inform Apple’s growing moves into the health space, but Beddit confirms that users’ information will be “collected, used and disclosed in accordance with the Apple privacy policy”.

Until next week!

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