Other developing technologies

9.95 There are other developing technologies that have the potential to impact adversely on privacy. For example, it has been argued that electronic number mapping (ENUM) may provide agencies, organisations and individuals with increased ability to track others.[203] ENUM is ‘an electronic numbering system that can link the public telephone network and the internet by allowing telephone numbers to be converted into internet domain names’.[204] In summary, ENUM enables telephones connected to the internet to make calls to the PSTN and receive calls from the PSTN.[205]

9.96 The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) submitted that the next development in ENUM technology, infrastructure ENUM, will involve the mapping of blocks of ENUM registrations ‘to a single Internet resource—generally a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) address’.[206] One application of infrastructure ENUM could involve the ‘peering’—or direct connection—of VoIP services in isolation from the PSTN.[207] In Chapter 71, the ALRC notes that ACMA recently commissioned a PIA for its ENUM project.[208] The PIA contained 13 recommendations relating to the implementation of the project. The ALRC understands that ACMA is in the process of implementing these recommendations.[209]

9.97 Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies also have the potential to impact adversely on privacy. DRM technologies enable copyright owners to protect digital material by controlling the ways in which the material is accessed, used, copied and distributed.[210] It has been noted that virtually all DRM technologies require the collection of personal information about consumers of copyright material.[211] Accordingly, they limit the ability of these consumers to access material anonymously.

9.98 Further, DRM technologies can be used to monitor the activities of consumers by collecting information about the ‘content used, the time of use, the frequency of use, and the location of use’.[212] The Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement requires the parties to introduce a scheme imposing liability for activities relating to the circumvention of ‘effective technological measures’ used by copyright owners to protect their material.[213] In December 2006, the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 (Cth) amended the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and the Copyright Regulations 1969 (Cth) to implement this requirement of the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement.[214]

9.99 Another area of concern relates to the use of application service providers. An application service provider is a business that enables customers to access software applications over a network, typically the internet. Use of an application service provider may result in large amounts of a customer’s data being stored remotely.[215] In Chapter 10, the ALRC considers how best to accommodate these technologies in a regulatory framework.

[203] R Clarke, ‘ENUM—A Case Study in Social Irresponsibility’ (2003) 9 Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 181, 181.

[204] Australian Communications Authority, Annual Report 2004–05 (2005), 36.

[205] Australian Communications and Media Authority, What is ENUM or Electronic Number Mapping? <www.acma.gov.au> at 30 July 2007.

[206] Australian Communications and Media Authority, Submission PR 268, 26 March 2007.

[207] See, eg, Australian Communications and Media Authority, Australian ENUM News (2006) <www.acma.
gov.au/WEB/STANDARD//pc=PC_2328> at 30 April 2008.

[208] Australian Communications and Media Authority, Submission PR 522, 21 December 2007.

[209] Australian ENUM Discussion Group, Evaluation of the Australian ENUM Trial (2007), Appendix B.

[210] Information and Privacy Commissioner Ontario, Privacy and Digital Rights Management (DRM): An Oxymoron? (2002), 2.

[211] Ibid, 4.

[212] D Mulligan, J Han and A Burstein, ‘How DRM-Based Content Delivery Systems Disrupt Expectations of “Personal Use”’ (Paper presented at Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Workshop on Digital Rights Management, Washington DC, 27 October 2003).

[213]Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, 18 May 2004, [2005] ATS 1, (entered into force generally on 1 January 2005), art 17.4.7.

[214]Copyright Amendment Act 2006 (Cth).

[215] See, too, the discussion of cross-border data flows in Ch 31.