Technology leaves privacy laws behind
PROTECTING your privacy has become increasingly hard due to the rapid growth of social media, technological improvements and increasingly affordable surveillance equipment.
From revenge porn — where jilted lovers post sexually explicit images on social media or internet forums — to hacking scandals, an increasing number of people are suffering emotional and financial distress as a result of breaches of their privacy.
Technologies such as surveillance drones, which can fly overhead and film people in their backyards and on private property, have become more affordable.
In NSW, the failure of the legal system to keep up with these rapid advances has sparked a parliamentary in-
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A recent example was a Sydney schoolteacher who, after undergoing gynaecological surgery, received a phone call informing her that while she was under anaesthetic, a nurse had used a mobile phone to take an explicit photo of her genitalia then shown it to colleagues.
While it is a criminal act in NSW to photograph or film someone’s private parts without consent for the purpose of sexual gratification, it did not cover these actions.
The hospital terminated the nurse’s employment but she was not charged with any offence.
Earlier this year, computer hackers infiltrated the database of adultery website Ashley Madison and released the names, email addresses and personal information of millions of users online.
Because users of Ashley Madison don’t have to verify their email addresses, those details included the names and details of many people who had not signed up to the service — including the New Zealand Prime Minister.
The actions of those online vigilantes reveal how easily relationships, careers and reputations can be destroyed by privacy breaches.