CHOICE membership

Cado... Seriously?


#1

I was shocked to receive the email from Choice Campaigns re “We’ve built you a super robot assistant”.
I understand the idea and it probably seemed like the best way to interact with millennials but “Facebook”! Seriously!
Shock as it may be but some people don’t have facebook accounts and people who believe in privacy rights never will!
With all the technology available why are Choice giving away members information and concerns through a platform that is not Australian, does not reside in Australia and is not under Australian law.
Also, multiple superannuation accounts is not just a millennial problem. I had 8 different super accounts before we were allowed to move them… each took their kings ransom in fees during that time.
Very disappointed Choice.


#2

http://www.lawhandbook.org.au/2016_12_04_02_protection_of_privacy_in_australia/

“rights” is a word bandied around a lot … and like the word “privacy” we have bugger all if any in this country (as in many others). I think collectively we watch too much yankee tele - but if you ask me to prove it, I’ll ‘take the fifth’ …

I’m not sure what you are saying here - do you believe Choice is disclosing PII/SPI/etc? can you expand/clarify?

Facebook and Google (tick pick another big one) have corporate Australian presence - to what extent can it be said they “do not reside” and “is not under”? and to that extent, how does that differ or is better/worse than Australian and so-called Australian companies who may be subsidiary of multinationals and/or who employ off-shore (best-shore, right-shore, whatever the current codewode for Australian headcount loss is these days) staff to do back-office, call centre and other functions, with wholesale access to customers PII/SPI?


#3

If people don’t have FB accounts, this is irrelevant to them

How does having a robot result in the things you suggest? I get that you have FB, but it is ubiquitous as you point out [quote=“maxim, post:1, topic:14838”]
it probably seemed like the best way to interact with millennials
[/quote]

While FB does not pay the slightest bit of attention to individuals or even businesses, they do listen & respond to Governments, & of course to very large organizations who have influence. So while they are headquartered overseas, they are legally obliged to operate here under our law.

Perhaps your superannuation should be relocated to the threads discussing superannuation as it is not relevant to the rest of what you have written here, and so it doesn’t get overlooked?


#4

OK there is a bit to go through here. Facebook collects data from users and visitors and stores it in data centres all over the world. They have ownership of it. The user and visitors to the site do not. When you go to the Facebook website it starts tracking you and inserts a little bit of code into your browser so that is can keep tracking. A large amount of meta data. It’s like someone following you around town and writing down everywhere you go and everything you look at. If you have a FB account you have agreed to their EULA so you’ve already agreed for them to watch you, own what they find out about you and own all your data. That includes the photos you may have taken of someone who is not a FB member and who may have not allowed this if given the option.
It all boils down to human rights. If I choose not be be tracked and followed by a corporation who sells that data for profit to the highest bidder, then that should be my right of choice according to the international human rights charter.

I’m not sure what you are saying here - do you believe Choice is disclosing PII/SPI/etc? can you expand/clarify?

Choice is not disclosing personal identifiable information per sec, however, they are a party to disclosure for the reasons above. By going to FB and interacting in any way at all, data is being transferred. If this “bot” interacts with the user in any way then it is collecting data on that person. That data alone could seem innocuous but given the amount of information FB already has on their users, it’s just another piece to the profile puzzle and yes, therefore fits into the PII scenario.

Facebook and Google (tick pick another big one) have corporate Australian presence - to what extent can it be said they “do not reside” and “is not under”?

It really depends on where the data is held and what Australia’s relationship with the country that corporation is from. We have seen that some of the largest corporations that have a presence here choose how and when they pay taxes. We’ve seen numerous data breaches from corporations with Australian presence and some are fined… but the data is still gone. And this theft is not like gold… it can be reproduced, over and over again, for ever. We’ve also seen major corporations being fined in the US for failing their customers yet they get away with the same crime in many other countries.

and to that extent, how does that differ or is better/worse than Australian and so-called Australian companies who may be subsidiary of multinationals and/or who employ off-shore (best-shore, right-shore, whatever the current codewode for Australian headcount loss is these days) staff to do back-office, call centre and other functions, with wholesale access to customers PII/SPI?

It doesn’t differ… this is serious too and I think this should be treated just as seriously.


#5

If people don’t have FB accounts, this is irrelevant to them

I disagree, for the reasons I have said above. If you choose to give your data to FB it’s up to you but if you choose not to then should you be penalised? You can’t view this offering unless you have a FB account.

How does having a robot result in the things you suggest? I get that you have FB, but it is ubiquitous as you point out.

While FB does not pay the slightest bit of attention to individuals or even businesses, they do listen & respond to Governments, & of course to very large organizations who have influence. So while they are headquartered overseas, they are legally obliged to operate here under our law.

I hope I have covered both these questions in my earlier response but please let me know if I haven’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the power of social media, that’s why it’s so important to make sure we do this right. Protect us and the people of the future by making sure our basic human rights are protected now.

Perhaps your superannuation should be relocated to the threads discussing superannuation as it is not relevant to the rest of what you have written here, and so it doesn’t get overlooked?

That was an example relating to the topic so I think it’s relevant.


#6

Probably didn’t need the 101 … I’ve been intimately involved in ‘stealing’ your (personal) information in one way or another for a couple of decades … so to speak (ahem) … legally of course :wink: (Edit: NB Not my current job)

Legislation regarding photographs/images isn’t quite that simple - if the photographer is located a public place, and the images captured are non-sexual, and non-commercial, in a broad sense you’ll have a hard time convincing a court they are private in any way - but again, its not simple and there are always exceptions.

Human Rights … there’s that ‘R’ word again - it’s a wonderful concept … I have no faith in any translation into some meaningful reality in this country within the financial and political resources of we mere mortals … I don’t say that lightly - I don’t have any faith in the flow-down of so-called ‘Rights’ from the UN, and about as much faith in our justice system, such as it is called.

Possibly true at face value - but drawing a very long bow that it gives any useful depth of context. I’m not a fan of relative comparisons generally, but generally and relatively compared to some other stuff I’ve seen people use on Facebook this looks rather benign. Of course that’s different to ‘not benign’ … I’ve run through the process now a couple of times, so Facebook would be a little confused if anything as to what my Superannuation situation is, as am I - I know all the answers except the important one, will I live to 137 so I’ll have enough to retire. Probably the one thing I did find interesting is the 'bot redirects to ‘MyGov’, rather than just providing a URL that the user can type in.

Another complex issue, as you alluded to - it also depends on whether it can be proven where the data is held, and as you said, it is easily replicated.

I’m not convinced the Avocado is a serious issue. It would be interesting to hear from Choice regarding the information flow/disclosure - they do say:

Of course the only thing you ever ‘tell’ Cado is from pre-programmed buttons, so it’s not like you can paste in account numbers/etc.

But who is Cado?? seems somewhat ‘undefined’ … ahhh the mask of anonymity :wink:

My threat level is one of ‘mild amusement while embracing hopelessness about data protection’ - I’ll raise that to ‘a little miffed but still know there’s bugger all I can do’ if the need be. I have a few levels above that …


#7

I apologise for the 101 but as this is a forum there are probably those who have not been in an industry relating to this.
I agree with much of what you’re saying, especially regarding the “rights” issues. Many of our] rights have been taken and abused in the past but now we have a chance to change that. To create the ability to make the digital landscape safe.

I wish this were the ramblings of a madman but I too have been in this industry for some time… we started our first web servers in Sydney in the mid 90s. Both my partner and I have watched hackers try to collapse systems, steal data and manipulate markets… it doesn’t take much.

Not typing in anything means nothing… you don’t have to type anything in to provide meta data and as I said previously, that data can tell an awful lot about you. The massive collection of metadata on everyone by companies who profit massively from it means they don’t want to stop either. When such large profits can be made from something the laws become more of a financial risk than anything with teeth and a couple of hundred high paid lawyers can keep pretty much anything away from the courts for years.

This is a very complex issue and I’m not going to do it any justification here but a good place to start is the Electronic Frontier Foundation (https://www.eff.org). There is a huge plethora of information there and that links to so much more.

The crack in the dam does not seem too much of an issue to begin with… how long can you tread water :wink:


#8

It does mean something - I was thinking more of SPI/PII - real detailed data, not meta-data and more specifically the likelihood that some less savvy users might paste in loads of real detailed information rather than just squeeze out a bit of meta. There are degrees I know - none of it is good, but I guess I’m not too fussed about meta-data, not only has that horse bolted but it has been through the desert, has no name, ran free, and long since become glue … of course I’ve heard people confuse the two, as with loyalty cards - the press hasn’t helped clarify the distinction either …

EFF are an interesting bunch - one needs to filter out their US-centric interpretation of what is achievable but they raise some interesting stuff. I remember their campaign against the Clipper Chip very well - and their ‘Privacy Badger’ (which may well be a honey badger - lets not go there) seems a useful tool. They do get a bit ‘PETA-esque’ or ‘Quixotic’ but so be it…

Barnes Wallis went through decades ago … been swimming ever since …


#9

Hi @maxim,
Thanks for your feedback, and apologies for any disappointment we might have caused. I think some of the concerns have already been clarified or addressed, and we appreciate the discussion around privacy rights.

While we do operate a Facebook page and tools such as Cado, it’s important for us first to make clear that we do not ‘give away’ members information. This implies that we are directly taking consumer’s information and sharing it with other parties, which is not the case.

If I have read your complaint correctly, the real issue is with bigger themes of privacy concerns with Facebook and social networks in general and the fact that we operate on these networks at all is playing into these concerns. Cado being about potentially sensitive superannuation information no doubt only raised the concern. There’s also a secondary matter that those who choose not to use Facebook cannot get the benefit of the tool, which is correct.

For better or worse, CHOICE is a part of a larger media landscape. While we can influence things, we’re also dependent on how consumers use the media, and currently a lot of consumers, especially millennials, are heavy users of digital platforms like Facebook. To withdraw from Facebook and online in general and to create an impenetrable consumer communications output in a data privacy sense would likely mean our demise, and even if not, it would undermine one of our primary reasons to exist, which is to inform consumers. To speak to the people, we have to go where are they talking and listening.

One solution is to create our own online space, which is what we have done with this forum. CHOICE has invested to create a platform where we have better control, but we do not have endless resources. We are hoping to grow the Community to a platform to speak to all Australian, but this will take time. Devoting our limited resources to set up Cado here, unfortunately, just didn’t make sense.

However, on the plus side, many CHOICE staff along with the high-quality advice from our valued Community members are all accessible here, and probably to a more customised degree than Cado can offer (anyone with any superannuation issues can feel free to start a thread in our Money category).

This doesn’t solve all your concerns or issues I know, partly because these are such big issues. What we can promise is that we will take all concerns seriously, the feedback will be circulated and discussed within our organisation, and where we see an opportunity to improve that is feasible, we’ll act on that imperative.

So, if anyone has suggestions on other high-volume, high-privacy and more ethical platforms we can operate on instead of Facebook (with millennials or otherwise), ways we can grow this Community to a national audience, or any other suggestions, perhaps we can start some new threads in our Digital Rights section of this forum. We also have a section on our website to give consumers accessible information about privacy online.

Thanks again for the feedback @maxim and for the other contributions to the thread, it’s appreciated.


#10

I worked on the New Things team who put the Cado superannuation bot together so I’ve got some context I can give you about the project.

Firstly, the purpose of team at CHOICE is to find new audiences for the organisation and Cado is an experiment in this area that has been funded by Financial Literacy Australia.

With the success of chat bots like Joshua Browder’s DoNotPay providing guidance to consumers fighting parking fines or immigration bureaucracies we thought it was a good time to try a similar approach with Super.

This project started with a CHOICE research project that showed young people and first-time mothers were groups that could benefit from more advice on super. With super savings eroded by admin fees and compulsory insurance policies there are significant savings to be made by consolidating policies.

So why Facebook? Simply because it has the biggest audience and the most mature bot platform in its Messenger service. Yes, you have to have a Facebook account to use the bot and this is our target audience. We have a full spectrum of superannuation information available on the CHOICE website, the bot is an experiment in delivering this information in a different way.

Regarding use of personal data, the bot is very limited in what information it allows us to gather from users. We abide by the same Privacy Policy we use for our website – we do not trawl people’s friends lists, we do not even gather email addresses. Users can only enter information using buttons, rather than free text, so this further restricts information we can gather. The information on the bot has been designed to only offer general financial advice rather than personal advice based on a user’s individual circumstances.

Cado may not be for everyone, but we are getting some good responses from people who have used it. If you can get a laugh doing something as boring as consolidating your super then we think we’ve achieved what we set out to do.


#11

I think that’s the norm and that’s what I’m concerned with. Most people say they aren’t worried about their metadata being collected and don’t see it as a big deal. I do see it as a big deal. The collection of information at this kind of scale is not just a few logs on what you clicked on but an enormous trove of information that can be pieced together to create a picture of who you are, what you like and dislike, your affiliations, your religious, political and sexual preferences etc. But it’s not you. It’s a picture created by data and algorithms and, what if it’s wrong? What if the picture created finds you to be seditious for speaking up on a consumer forum? And what if some well funded evil enterprise did actually take over and they wanted to silence the seditious? I know, a lot of what ifs and it sounds like the plot to a low budget dystopian movie… but there is a “what if”. I’m sure people in Germany thought IBM punch cards quite harmless too.

It’s my belief we need to be vigilant for those that don’t see the issue, to question when no one else is or will. FB and the like will spin their story, not because they are some evil corporation, but because thats how business works, as I’m sure you are well aware. (I’m writing this for any others who may choose to read this also.)


#12

Hi Brendan, thanks for getting involved.

I understand you do not go about giving away member information and of course you need to address that here but the intention was to stir up some interest in this, which it sort of has.

I never actually suggested to pull out of social media or online in general, that would not make sense considering we’re talking online. I’m talking about the way things are done when communicating with members and people who are relying on Choice to help them as consumers and residents of Australia. FB and the like have a part to play in all of this. They can be useful, but they can be harmful as well. There are ways to interact with social media without having to log all your information such as social media links from your site (as you know).

You have created a great online space. You’re in Australia under Australian law and Australians use your service. You could grow Choice via your members linking to social media, as you do. Social media platforms can be created too… an Australian social media software platform ‘Dolphin’ is a great example for anyone you wanted to create their own FB style of community and they could hold the data… securely (or as securely as possible at this time)…but in Australia.

I’ll take your advice and look at starting new threads in those suggested sections but I put this in the members only section to keep it in a closed forum due to what it was referring to. I seem to be alone in this anyway (except Draughtrider who has got involved… Thanks Draughtrider)


#13

OK, so you’re obviously not going to be happy with me then :wink:

I’m not arguing against the use of chatbots (except perhaps microsoft’s Tay) or social media for that matter but we need to think about the information that it’s collecting. Where is it being stored, and for how long? Could this have been achieved without “AI” (i.e… a questionnaire)? There are also a number of open source chatbots that can be setup on your own server.

And therein lies the rub… because it’s quick, big and the bot probably may be better.

Back to metadata. I have no doubt you follow Australia’s privacy guidelines and I am not suggesting Choice trawls through friends lists etc… but FB does. FB now knows these members are checking out your bot regarding superannuation… FB knows which members and can now sell advertising to super funds etc to target those members…. advertising that is obviously trying to sell, not to inform.

The idea is great, and well done… but I believe the delivery is not so great… this is not a personal attack as I appreciate what it takes to develop this sort of thing but the purpose of this forum is to question in defence of the consumer is it not?


#14

I do see it as huge change - whether it is a big issue only time will tell, but there’s little doubt that it could be. For various reasons there are things I move on from - not the least of which is time and energy, but there are others and they are more personal/private. I think like many things the horse has bolted though - and while I’m fine with people who want to chase it … we accept so much, “if we’ve got nothing to hide, we’ve got nothing to worry about”, revenue raising on our roads, in our communities, control of everything - and at the same time minorities and the press taking non-issues and blowing them into huge debate while what matters is ignored - and some of the things that matter aren’t palatable … less palatable than the sand our collective heads are planted in.

I agree in general with what you have said - one of the great things about this forum is the people that come together and debate the issues - there’s no chance we’re all going to agree on everything, but even when a differing opinion reinforces our own, thats a good thing - and I for one have learned a lot and had many thought provoking reads here :slight_smile:


#15

We appreciate the honest feedback @maxim. It’s always helpful for us to see how people react to the tools we’re creating and the ideas we are trying, and while sometimes we get things wrong, we can use it all to improve. Also, the Dolphin software is an interesting one, we’ll consider whether something like this could be useful down the track.

I know the organisation is interested in privacy issues and other digital rights concerns, which seems like your area. I am happy to share any topics of interest that created around the organisation, as I do with other issues that are raised here. We then consider whether we can investigate and publish, take consumer action or seek other outcomes for any particular issue.


#16

I have very little interaction with Facebook. I use multiple tools to avoid as much as possible the collection of metadata about me, however for me some collection is impossible to avoid.

I avoid chat, bots, and similar tools on Facebook but Facebook still collect enough data to be scary and worse still they collect data even when you are not using their site. The Super tool because it is hosted through Facebook will never be used by me but I understand the broad consumer base it is able to assist by being on Facebook.

Unfortunately if you want a large service that has many clients so that your public exposure is the largest you can achieve, you have to use these sorts of tools eg Facebook, Twiitter, LinkedIn, Google and similar to get to that large client base. Betwixt the Devil & the Deep blue sea.


#17

I have very little to do with Facebook . If I had of wanted the world to know my every movement , buying habits and preferences in all things , I would have pursued a career in stage and screen .


#18

…and had a publicist that also employed a social media consultant to manage your facebook, twitter, instagram, twitter, … , … , … and if you were successful enough, a lawyer to try to get your privacy back :smiley:


#19

Phil I knew there was something I forgot to write in the post . Thanks a lot for reminding me . When I receive my first Oscar I will name you in the acceptance speech as my inspiration . :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#20

Thanks for pointing this out before I’ve clicked through.
Now avoided altogether.