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New legislation for Australian Federal Police tabled in parliament 

AFP’s ‘expansion of authoritarian powers’

Govt urged to avoid TOLA repeat with dark web laws

  • Last week, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton introduced the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 into the federal parliament.
  • The bill gives the AFP broad new surveillance powers, to take over the online accounts of Australians, and devices at the network level
  • Currently, law enforcement can only take control of a person’s account with their consent. These proposed laws would allow the AFP to take over an account without consent, as long as they had a warrant
  • While the new laws are designed to target child abuse and terrorism, the new warrants will also apply to Commonwealth crimes including theft, fraud, tax evasion, illegal gambling, forgery and piracy.
  • With just four sitting days left, the Law Council of Australia has urged the government not to repeat what it did with the country’s encryption-busting laws by similarly trying to rush through new online account takeover powers before Christmas, but the timing cannot be ignored here. 
  • And as we’ve reported, both the government encryption laws and mandatory data retention laws have been criticised since their introduction, as being too broad, and accessible by far too many agencies. 

‘Ridiculous and dangerous’: the hard road to safety in the gig economy

  • The SMH has a fantastic, long piece on NSW’s Safework investigation into food delivery services UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog
  • NSW Labor, the Greens and peak body Unions NSW have all urged the state government to expand the coverage of the workers’ compensation scheme to cover food delivery riders and to boost the enforcement of occupational health and safety rules. 
  • Unions NSW general secretary Mark Morey, who has worked with Airtasker to introduce minimum pay rates for workers, says “all work, regardless of the employment definition, should attract a minimum wage, leave loadings, superannuation and injury insurance”.
  • No one from food delivery companies agreed to answer questions for the article, but it sounds like they are working with the governments
  • It’s unlikely gig workers will ever be considered employees, but safety standards for the gig economy is clearly needed. 

Celebrities Like Cardi B Could Turn OnlyFans Into a Billion-Dollar Media Company

  • Bloomberg has a great story on the rise of Onlyfans – a site that allows users to follow and tip their favourite online personalities for access to content 
  • OnlyFans is adding as many as 500,000 users a day and paying out more than $200 million a month to its creators.
  • Like so many services on the internet, onlyfans growth was originally fuelled by adult film stars offering private shows 
  • More recently celebrities like Cardi B have released content on the platform, but will that be enough to shake its “adult” roots and hit the mainstream? 

More than 1,200 Google workers condemn firing of AI scientist Timnit Gebru

  • According to The guardian, More than 1,200 Google employees and more than 1,500 academic researchers are protesting the firing of artificial intelligence ethicist Timnit Gebru
  • She was allegedly fired by Google after the company attempted to suppress her research
  • According to a report from Protocol, industry leaders fear that her firing would have a chilling effect on other ethical researchers in the industry and at Google. 
  • Academics and activists have long expressed skepticism about the integrity of ethical AI research at places like Google, but Gebru’s reputation and leadership role lent credibility to Google’s research and helped quell the critics.