Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Good morning and happy Monday, we’ve got some tech news to help you ease into the new week.


1. Data breach exposing survey respondents

The ABC is this morning reporting that QIMR Berghofer, a medical research institute based in Brisbane, has been hit by a data breach, one potentially exposing the the personal details of more than 1,000 people. QIMR Berghofer runs Australia’s biggest skin cancer study and per the report, cyber criminals last year broke into servers holding highly sensitive data it collected. The hacked servers, the ABC said, were owned and operated by Datatime, a technology company hired by QIMR Berghofer to scan and process surveys for its QSKIN study, which has involved 50,000 Australians over more than a decade.

2. UQ looks to trial new COVID vax

Researchers at the University of Queensland are looking for volunteers for its second-generation molecular clamp vaccine – a COVID vaccine dubbed Clamp2. The trial comes more than two years after the original technology was abandoned amid patients falsely testing positive to HIV. Per the ABC (again), UQ scientists have re-engineered the molecular clamp technology and although the trial will assess the technology as a COVID vaccine, the researchers say if it’s successful, it’s more likely to be used to protect people during future pandemics and in jabs for existing viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

3. TikTok bans for all

On Friday, the New Zealand government effectively banned the use of TikTok on the phones of MPs, with the rules coming into force from March 31. As the call for Australia to do the same continues, this morning, Reuters is reporting Scotland is the next country to make the move. They join Taiwan, the U.S., the European Commission, Canada, Latvia, Denmark and Belgium. Read our summary over here.

4. Austrac accepts undertaking from PayPal

Financial intelligence and regulatory agency, Austrac, on Friday accepted an Enforceable Undertaking from PayPal Australia, following a probe into its compliance with financial crime laws. Back in September 2019, Austrac set out to ensure PayPal was complying with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws. It ordered an external audit of PayPal Australia’s compliance, specifically the local operation’s International Funds Transfer Instruction (IFTI) reporting obligations. The undertaking, accepted publicly by Austrac Friday, follows PayPal cooperating fully with the audit and introducing steps to ensure it wouldn’t come under the microscope again.

5. The ACCC can’t stop, won’t stop

The ACCC last week gave an update to where it’s at with its six-year probe into big tech. During a speech covering the actual kitchen sink, chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said the need for action against the tech sector was urgent. “It’s essential that Australian law keeps pace with fast-paced digital markets and regulatory developments overseas. Current laws are not sufficient to deal with these issues and new, targeted measures are required to bring about a more competitive, innovative, and consumer-centric digital economy.” You can read the speech here.

BONUS ITEM: Lemme get that off the shelf for you.

Have a wonderful week.

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