Mail transfer services are a threat to “privacy, fairness and accountability”, a lawyer for the Privacy Commissioner has said.
In a submission to the Senate committee, David Bercovici said the industry “is an industry whose primary objective is to reduce the privacy and security of the communications of its users”.
“Mail transfer is a technology that does not have the ability to prevent or mitigate the transmission of information.
It has no way to monitor the data being transmitted, nor to limit the amount of information that can be transmitted in a given time,” Mr Bercicsi said.
“In the event of a data breach or security breach, the sender of that information can be held liable for any damages to the recipient that may result from the breach, and for any financial loss.”
Privacy commissioner David BERCICI says technology providers like Facebook and WhatsApp have no right to be treated as a public utility.
The submission, released to The Australian on Tuesday, also argues that privacy rules and safeguards are inadequate for the needs of the sector.
It says while technology providers “are entitled to a reasonable level of protection, they have no obligation to act in a manner that is in the best interests of the public.”
The commissioner says that privacy protections “are far from perfect”.
“It is essential that we have a strong, consistent framework of protections that are applicable to all technology services and that those that are deemed essential are adequately protected,” he said.
“As an industry, we cannot continue to ignore this and continue to rely on the industry as a regulator.”