Australian regulators weekly wrap — Monday, 20 July 2020

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Investing time in your professional development within a rapidly changing financial services industry is challenging. To meet that challenge, the Australian regulators weekly wrap is designed to keep you at forefront of your practice by quickly setting out the top 5 developments from the past week, analysis and practical considerations for the future.

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  1. AU / UK Investigation (OAIC): the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office have opened a joint investigation into the personal information handling practices of Clearview AI Inc., focusing on the company’s use of ‘scraped’ data and bio-metrics of individuals. Clearview’s facial recognition app allows users to upload a photo of an individual and match it to photos of that person collected from the internet. It then links to where the photos appeared. It is reported that the system includes a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have taken or ‘scraped’ from various social media platforms and other websites; there are privacy law aspects here, insofar as consent and data handling are concerned. The joint investigation will be conducted in accordance with the Australian Privacy Act 1988 and the UK Data Protection Act 2018. It will be conducted under the Global Privacy Assembly’s Global Cross Border Enforcement Cooperation Arrangement and the MOU between the OAIC and the ICO. Fascinating stuff, and highly unusual for the privacy regulator which (like its domestic regulatory cousins) appears to be growing more hawkish.

Thought for the future: the OAIC / ICO investigation is a very interesting one — I can’t think of one quite like it before — and a timely reminder of the increasing cooperation between international regulators. The number of information-sharing and cooperation MOUs are increasing. For investigations with an international element, it is always worth keeping this in mind. More information can be found here.

(These views are my own and do not constitute legal advice. Photo credit Tom Wheatley)

AU financial services lawyer in compliance, regulatory & disputes. Email sign-up: and LinkedIn: