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Australia's immigration platform uncovers personal data of 774,000 people

The Australian government has left hundreds of thousands of personal data unprotected on the internet. The security breach affects 774,000 potential migrants. According to The Guardian, SkillsSelect, a digital platform used by public services to manage this type of information, has allowed, for several hours, anyone to access details such as age, country of origin, marital status and qualifications impacted people. Note that it was possible to search for specific names and thus access the respective data of that same person.

The platform invites skilled workers and entrepreneurs to express their interest in migrating to Australia. Users' intentions are stored for two years and, during this period, job offers can be addressed and, consequently, the possibility of becoming eligible for a work visa.

The State Secretary responsible for employment took SkillsSelect offline for "maintenance" shortly after the British newspaper contacted the Australian government, but there is still no information pointing to the return of the tool that streamlines migration requests. For now, the teams responsible for the portfolio will have to notify all victims.

It should also be noted that the Australian government recently launched a tracking application to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. CovidSafe is an application capable of monitoring proximity contacts from each citizen's mobile phone, allowing the mapping of contagion currents. These new tools have generated some debate, especially with regard to the risks they pose to the privacy of users, given that there are some doubts regarding security and the anonymity of data.

This situation can complicate the adoption of the app, although SkillsSelect was developed separately. At stake is the population's confidence in the Australian government's ability to deal with citizens' personal data. Note that millions of downloads will be required for authorities to be able to monitor contagion currents effectively.

In 2016, an investigation brought to the public that the Australian police could access the medical records of Australian citizens without needing to apply for legal authorization to do so.