Tech Check Digest - July 23, 2021

Tech Check collates the most interesting articles, podcasts and webinars in the world of tech, so you don't have to. In this edition:


Someone finally used location data to track and publicly harrass a person, and there are implications for the inevitable weaponisation of app data (via Vice). For years tech companies defended the collection of location data because "it's anonymised and unidentified". But now that's been proven wrong, as a Substack publication used location data tied to a Grindr account to trace the movements of a priest, and then outed him publicly without his consent. This highlights the urgent need for more data protections and purpose limitations on data collection.

Australia joins international partners in attribution of malicious cyber activity to China (via Office of the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women). Australia joined 30 nations including the United States and Japan in calling out China's Ministry of State Security for hacking Microsoft Exchange software. Australia has reminded China on its G20 commitments of refraining from cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential information. 

Outgoing Human Rights Commissioner Ed Santow will lead a new 'responsible technology' initiative within the University of Technology, Sydney (via InnovationAus). Santow, who we spoke to last month to help launch his report 'Human Rights and Technology', will build on his work with AI and spearhead the initiative to develop Australia's strategic capabilities in AI and other emerging technology.


Head of WhatsApp speaks to ASPI for a webinar on safety, security and privacy (via ASPI). It's rare for the head of WhatsApp to speak directly to the public. Given recent consumer backlashes over its privacy policies and numerous scams which continue to be active, this appears to be part of a deliberate effort to build more trust with consumers. 

An investigation inside TikTok's highly secretive algorithm (via WSJ). A Wall Street Journal special investigation reveals that TikTok needs only one piece of information to figure out what you want to see most, as every hover, hesitation or rewatch inside the app is tracked to figure out your behaviour.


Labor presses for national ransomware strategy, mandatory reporting of ransom payments via ABC Radio. Labor says that the government needs a national ransomware strategy if it's serious about protecting Australia against cyber attacks, including the recent Chinese hack using Microsoft. Labor cyber spokesman Tim Watts says ransomware attacks cost Australia $1 billion a year.