December 2021

The Public Square Project book launch

featuring Peter Lewis

Held at The Australia Institute’s Politics in the Pub event, we launch the Centre for Responsible Technology’s new book ‘The Public Square Project’. Western democracy has always been anchored by the idea of a public space where people gather to share ideas, mediate difference and make sense of the world. When Facebook blocked Australian users

Whatever happened to the free web?

featuring Dan Stinton, Lizzie O'Shea and Peter Lewis

The internet promised new ways to challenge power and privilege, so how has it become a tool to promote division and entrench despots? Join us as we dive deep with special guest Elaine Pearson from Human Rights Watch into the ways tech platforms have become wilful partners in oppression around the globe. Regular panellists: Peter

The Public Square Project: Reimagining Our Digital Future

A new book from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology, published by MUP and released today, The Public Square Project: Reimagining Our Digital Future explores a new blueprint for a more democratic digital space, and re-examines the idea of a public space where people gather to share ideas, mediate difference and make sense of

November 2021

Amazon’s Big Friday a Black Day for Worker Rights

The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible technology today called on Amazon to mark its global marketing day, Black Friday, by ditching patents to increase the surveillance of its workers. According to an analysis by UNI Global, Amazon currently have patents on a range of technologies that will erode workplace privacy including: Augmented reality headsets that

What’s the go with DuckDuckGo?

featuring Peter Lewis, Lizzie O'Shea and Dan Stinton

The dominance of Google’s data-hungry search engine is under the spotlight in Australia, with live inquiries on its role in the Ad-tech industry and anti-competitive deals which embed the search engine in smart devices. But DuckDuckGo has proven that you can build a search engine that’s not based on user surveillance. In this week’s Burning

Can technology really save the planet?

featuring Peter Lewis and Lizzie O'Shea

As the world’s leaders debate the future of the planet, technology is being put forward as the solution to the earth’s climate woes. But will smart energy networks, AI and Bitcoin really save us? As part of the annual NetThing internet governance conference, this week’s Burning Platforms dives deep into the environmental impacts of technology. Regular panellists: Peter

October 2021

Platforms vs. Nation-States

featuring Peter Lewis, Lizzie O'Shea and Dan Stinton

Platforms are acting like nation-states and governments are trying to become platforms, but are they both getting it wrong? The idea of the ’platform’ has come to dominate our notion of the internet – that there are corporate networks that we stand on to support us in accessing cyberspace. Governments are employing the same construct

Privacy isn’t boring: Online Privacy in Australia

featuring Peter Lewis and Lizzie O'Shea

With a review of the Privacy Act expected soon, and the Facebook whistleblower revealing Facebook’s privacy breaches among other things, we take a deep dive into the legal frameworks for entrenching digital data rights into Australian law. From informed consent to data matching and security, is the traditional approach to privacy applicable to the online

Facial Recognition for Home Quarantine is a Recipe for Privacy Disaster

State governments trialling home quarantine need to take active steps to ensure they are not crossing a new frontier in the surveillance of citizens by using Facial Recognition Technology, warns the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. This follows reports that in several states police have accessed COVID check-in data to undertake routine law enforcement activities.

Facebook Should Face Royal Commission into its Online Harms

The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has backed Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s proposal for a high-level review of the public health impacts of Facebook’s business model, calling for a Royal Commission into the company’s impact on Australian users. Evidence from an internal whistleblower to the US Senate this week has exposed how Facebook’s leadership

The algorithms that rule Australia

featuring Peter Lewis, Lizzie O'Shea, Dan Stinton and Jordan Guiao

Welcome to Burning Platforms. A new fortnightly podcast unpacks the latest developments in technology from around the world. This fortnight we explore algorithms that rule Australia, how we are increasingly outsourcing policy and governance to algorithms. We will look at how facial recognition, robo-planning and robo-welfare are entering our policy environments. This and more in

September 2021

Government Must Now Act on ACCC Call to Regulate Google’s Advertising Power

The Federal Government should move urgently to implement the recommendations of a new ACCC report into the monopoly dominance of Google in the advertising. The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology said understanding and regulating the hidden power of Google to collect and combine user data from multiple sources was a critical piece in addressing the

Privacy concerns cast shadow over vaccination passports

The lack of a clear blueprint for vaccination ‘passports’ that addresses public concerns around safety and security risks is undermining the implementation of vaccine mandates, warns the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. With vaccine passports for international travel reportedly just weeks away, there appears to have been little focus on the way a digital

May 2021

Artificial intelligence must enshrine fairness

by Peter Lewis in The Australian

The Human Rights Commission’s call for a pause on the development of Facial Recognition Technology and the placing of guardrails around the development of other AI products could be the kickstart the Australian tech sector desperately needs. While Australia plays perpetual catch-up with the tech superpowers of the US and China, scrounging for government support

Majority of Australians Support Limits on Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition Technology in Australia

The key measures in the Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Human Rights and Technology’ report released Thursday are strongly endorsed by the Australian public, according to new research. A poll of 1,100 Australians conducted by Essential Research for the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology finds majority support for the key measures recommended in the report:

Facebook’s Trump Ruling Shows Need for an Independent Public Square

“The confused ruling by Facebook’s internal oversight board highlights the need for an independent public network that is not driven by commercial objectives,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. “The overnight ruling, that upheld the suspension of President Trump but calls on Facebook to establish clearer guidelines for banning

April 2021

Time to Reimagine Public Broadcasting to Address the Power of Facebook

A new report by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology calls for a rethink of the role of the national broadcaster to provide alternate digital spaces to Facebook and other global platforms. The paper The Public Square Project proposes a publicly funded social network built on the trust and reach of the ABC to create: communities

March 2021

Australia has shown you can take on big companies – and win

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Big companies are always threatening to take their bat and ball and leave our shores, and Australian politicians usually beg them to stay. Whether it’s cutting company taxes or promising weak IR and environmental laws, for decades the Australian government has behaved like a lonely kid who worries the cool kids won’t talk to them

February 2021

Bargaining Code a Welcome First Step in Regulating Big Tech

“The legislation creates a safety net designed to ensure that social media platforms recognise the value of public interest journalism,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. “We know the prospect of the code has led to significant settlements with large media players. We now need to see how it

Facebook destroying its social license by restricting Australian news content

“Facebook’s decision to prevent users viewing or sharing public interest journalism will make it a weaker social network,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. “The social network is destroying its social license to operate. Facebook actions mean the company’s failures in privacy, disinformation, and data protection will require a

Google and the use and abuse of economic modelling

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

In its efforts to avoid regulation, Google commissioned economic modelling showing that Google providing tens of billions of dollars in benefits to Australia – but the figures quickly fell apart on closer inspection from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. In this episode, chief economist Richard Denniss talks us through some of the assumptions

Facebook and Google having too much market power is a threat to democracy

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

Forget about how much you loathe Rupert Murdoch for a minute. The well-earned ire for the media mogul’s empire is muddying the waters in the huge battle over the news media bargaining code, a battle Australia cannot afford to lose. At stake is the future of public interest journalism, as well as the ability of

January 2021

Australians Want More News, Less Misinformation in Their Social Media Feeds

New research from The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has shown that a majority of Australians want social media companies to prioritise journalism from news sites, limit the spread of misinformation and be more transparent about how they choose what content their users see. The research is being released as representatives from Facebook prepare

December 2020

Statement on News Media Bargaining Code: Big Tech Media Code Good News for Democracy

The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has welcomed the introduction of legislation, forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news, as globally significant response to the growing power of Big Tech. The News Media Bargaining Code, to be tabled by the Morrison Government this week, will force the platforms to compensate for the premium

Strong Public Support for Big Tech to Pay for News

The Australian public has endorsed moves by the Morrison Government to pass legislation requiring Google and Facebook to pay media companies for the news that drives their social networks. The proposed ACCC Media Code seeks to regulate big tech platforms such as Facebook and Google, and help ensure a viable future for Australian media. The

August 2020

Media Decline Amid Growing Power of Big Tech Demonstrates Need for ACCC Media Code

The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology has made a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding its draft news bargaining code, with close of submissions today.  Key Points in Submission: The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology supports the implementation of a news media bargaining code proposed by the ACCC. Media

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