OPTF

Privacy Awareness Week ’22: The foundation of trust

The OPTF is back at it again this year — we’re an official, multi-year supporter of Privacy Awareness Week. This year the OAIC is highlighting the relationship between privacy and trust. Trust is a super important part of our everyday lives — and more and more the world around us is asking that we place trust in technology. In fact, Mallory Knodel from the Center for Democracy and Technology recently discussed trust and technology in an (excellent) article for the OPTF.

With that trust comes some expectations: that we will not be exploited, we will not be oppressed, and that the technology itself will add to our lives in meaningful ways.

Un-poisoning the well

When we see stories about expensive, botched contact tracing apps, the latest Facebook data scandal, or dating apps outing (and endangering) their users by selling sensitive location data, it makes it, well, difficult to trust… anyone. It leaves us throwing our hands up in the air and asking, ‘why do we bother?’.

People are growing weary of the rampant exploitation, data harvesting, and privacy-disrespecting policies which are trotted out by companies and governments alike. The relationship between people and the powers that be has grown strained — and there is only one way to walk this mess back; only one way to regain people’s trust.

Reinstate privacy. Adopt privacy-preserving policies. Respect people’s basic rights and dignity instead of selling them out for a buck.

Embracing privacy

We’ve already seen some groups begin to change their tune when it comes to privacy, promising more privacy protections and a more respectful approach to people’s privacy online. But there is more to be done. This Privacy Awareness Week the OPTF is calling for organisations, governments, and individuals all around the country to support and adopt privacy-by-design approaches as we move into the future.

The simplest, most effective protection against a data breach is to simply not store non-essential data. Don’t wait until people are throwing their hands up in defeat or scrambling to issue an emergency press release — take a proactive approach to privacy this year. Privacy is important, it is worth the time and effort required to protect your privacy as well as the people in your community.

The OPTF would also like to thank all its fellow privacy supporters both during this Privacy Awareness Week as well as those who campaign to protect people’s privacy and other digital rights year-round.