Careful Communication and Proper Use of Computers

Complaint About Online Game
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Persónuvernd has released its Decision 2011/84 (17 August 2011 – Icelandic language version available only) regarding a complaint that the operator of an online computer game had violated a user’s privacy by continuing to handle personal data after they ceased to use the service. The Persónuvernd found that the company had complied with legal requirements, including by warning the complainant that data may be retained in the event of legal disputes.
Further information from the Persónuvernd (Icelandic language version available only)
(Source: Persónuvernd)

Parking App in Privacy Gaffe
Asia Pacific

iTechReport reports that shopping centre company Westfield has apologised after its “Find My Car” application (app) allowed public access to images of all users’ car numberplates. The app reportedly takes a picture of the user’s numberplate so that customers have a reference of where they parked their car. However, the app reportedly lacked any security controls meaning that anyone could potentially find that information, as well as the time of arrival. Westfield has reportedly advised that the car-finding function has been disabled while the app developer works on an authentication solution.
iTechReport: Westfield Australia ‘Find My Car’ privacy blunder uncovered (14 September 2011)
(Source: iTechReport)

Google Improves Location Privacy

Google global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer has announced that the company will provide for a global opt-out function so that public wireless network providers can elect for their access points not to be registered by location services like Google Maps. This means that Google services will be unable to “use that access point to determine users’ locations”. Mr Fleischer said that though none of Google’s location services explicitly identify people, the opt-out feature will address concerns voiced by European data protection authorities and further protect individual privacy.
Google’s media release (13 September 2011)
(Source: Google)

Lawsuit Claims Microsoft Ignores Privacy Requests by Users

According to allegations in a recently filed class action lawsuit, Microsoft has intentionally designed its camera software for the Windows Phone 7 to track the location of customers, even after the user requests the tracking software be turned off. This new claim comes on the heels of a similar lawsuit filed against Apple earlier in the year. In response to the allegations in that case, Apple has since released a patch to fix any perceived tracking problems; however, the accusations have led to new scrutiny on the industry.
Reuters: Lawsuit says Microsoft tracks customers without consent (31 August 2011)
(Source: Reuters)

Spam Canned
Asia Pacific

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a formal warning to Image Marketing Group (IMG), after the company was found to have breached the Spam Act 2003 No. 129 (Cth) by emailing Australian addresses it found on the internet. ACMA advises that only addresses which have been “conspicuously published” online can be used for unsolicited communications and the messages must be “directly relevant to the owner of the address”.
ACMA’s media release (7 September 2011)
(Source: ACMA; Lawlex Legislative Alert & Premium Research)