ALRC considers drone, social media regulation

Privacy invasion via drone, social media accounts, GPS tracking and metadata are some of the issues the Australian Law Reform Commission has suggested should be considered as part of a privacy law review.

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has said that social media, GPS, website user tracking, and drones are testing the effectiveness of Australian law in protecting privacy.

The commission was tasked by then-Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus in June to make recommendations on how laws could be adapted to reduce serious invasions of privacy in the digital era.

In the ALRC's issues paper (PDF) released today, the commission poses 28 questions related to the inquiry, with just one specifically focused on the implications of privacy invasion related to technology.

The commission notes that the increasing use of smartphones by the public is able to create easily shareable audio and video content, the increasing use of cloud services to store data, and the increasing use of location-based online shopping sites and social networks.

This means, the commission said, that people can be unaware of the amount of information being collected about them online.

The ALRC listed GPS, website cookies, telecommunications metadata, aggregation of data across social media sites, and even use of drones by the media and others as potential areas of concern when it comes to protecting the privacy of Australians.

The commission has asked for responses on how the law could be adapted to prevent serious invasions of privacy in the digital era.

The ALRC is accepting submissions on the issues paper until November 11.