News / 14.07.2020

Mandatory social distancing and working from home requirements introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic has posed a challenge to business operations and driven adoption of technology to empower a remote workforce at an unprecedented scale. Electronic transactions are no exception to this. In Australia the government has taken steps to provide certainty to Australian companies looking to execute and exchange documents electronically. While electronic transactions are nothing new in Australia, the law has not always kept up with business practice.  Since 1999 Australia has had the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (Cth) (Electronic Transactions Act) (each state and territory also has its...

News / 15.05.2020

Unprecedented Times Require Extraordinary Solutions Covid-19 is the most significant and unprecedented event of our times. The strict social distancing measures that were rolled out starting in early March have helped flatten the curve, thus avoiding the possibility of mass infection rates in Australia similar to what occurred in other parts of the world such as Europe and the US. However, it was evident early on that these measures and the pandemic in general would have drastic consequences for the economy. In the June quarter the GDP is forecast to fall by more than 10% while the unemployment rate is predicted...

News / 17.04.2020

A New App to Track a Virus? The Australian Federal Government recently announced its plans to launch a phone app which would enable it to track the spread of COVID-19 by collecting user metadata. Likely, the app would be similar to that currently be used by the government in Singapore. Singapore’s app, TraceTogether, records ‘digital handshakes’ between devices, tracking individuals who have had the virus and those they may have come into contact with it. This ideally allows the Health Authorities to get ahead of further spread of the virus. However, the app in Singapore is still in some stages of infancy,...

News / 06.03.2020

On the back of Greta Thunberg’s ascension to Time’s ‘Person of the Year’, the ever pervading divisiveness surrounding climate change found a new battle ground, Australia’s bushfire crisis. Proponents of climate change viewed the crisis as further evidence that climate change is real and should be a global concern. However, soon enough, posts began popping up on social media feeds spreading the word that such proponents were overreacting. It was said that the crisis was in fact caused by the concerted efforts of a string of arsons across the country, evidenced by about 180 arrests.[1] What was the motivation of...

News / 24.01.2020

On January 20 2020, for the first time Victoria was declared a state of disaster as a result of the bushfires which have ravaged the state since August 2019.  The Attorney General has made an emergency declaration under Part VIA of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) - Privacy (Australian Bushfires Disaster) Emergency Declaration (No. 1) 2020 (Declaration). This declaration will expire on 20 January 2021.  “The Declaration will allow appropriate access to personal information about an individual impacted by the bushfires to help with a timely response to the bushfire emergency.”  “It recognises the need to use personal information to provide...

News / 04.10.2019

In 2017, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a special publication that represented a shift, perhaps controversially, in the management of passwords for the U.S. Federal Government.  Although the guidelines are not binding on us here in Australia, NIST advisories remain highly influential for technology related matters. The guidelines provided a number of mandates including: password lengths should be increased to up to 64 characters; password hints should not be allowed; and password reset options such as “What was the name of your first pet?” should not be allowed. Perhaps the two most controversial recommendations were that: passwords...

News / 15.08.2019

A book was recently published on lithium-ion batteries. You may wonder why this is the topic of a tech law article, especially with one of the simpler sentences in the book being: “Due to its high theoretical capacity (718 mAh g−1 ), low cost, relative abundance, and environmental benignity, NiO has attracted considerable attention among multiple TMOs for Li-ion batteries. The reason is that, apart from the preface, this 278-page book was written entirely by a machine learning (ML) program - a virtual author named Beta Writer. While this is interesting in many ways, it has significant implications from an Australian copyright...

News / 07.06.2019

The VSCL's May panel focused on disruption to the legal industry and how the legal landscape is changing. This panel was run by the VSCL's Chelsea Davine who acted as moderator for panellists Leah Paff from the Lemonade Traders, Sacha Mcmonagle-Ihasz of Ineffable and Tessa Ramanlal of HSF and ANIKA Legal who each shared their views on legal disruption. Legal Disruption Versus Innovation The panellists kicked off their conversation by explaining their views on the differences between innovation and disruption. Innovation was put forward as the concept of finding new or improved ways of doing business whereas disruption was differentiated from innovation...

News / 06.05.2019

On 18 March 2019, the VSCL ran a panel event on the current encryption law debate and how Australian businesses and, in particular tech start-ups, are likely to be impacted by the new laws. Moderated by Robert Ceglia (Lawyer @ Corrs), the panel consisted of Michael Swinson (KWM Partner, TMET - Mergers & Acquisitions) with expertise in IT and telecommunications law; Georg Thomas (Corrs National Security & Risk Manager) a Certified Ethical Hacker, Georg offered our panel a technical and risk management insight on encryption issues; and Michael Pattison (ContractProbe Founder) who offered insight both from a start-up perspective, and from his strong foundations in the technology and...

News / 29.04.2019

Disruption of the legal industry often generates heated discussion. Change is upon us, uptake is increasing, and yet the view that ‘tech will take our jobs’ is rife throughout the legal sector. For this post, Chelsea Davine chats with Ineffable’s Sacha Mcmonagle-Ihasz on disruption in the legal sector, and how the legal landscape is changing, ahead of the VSCL’s Wine and Cheese over Legal Disruption panel event taking place at RMIT on Thursday 9th May from 6pm. Click here to register. Introduction Sacha Mcmonagle-Ihasz Sacha is the head of Creative at Ineffable – a software development firm which specialises in using technology to...