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Australia to take 12000 Syrians, expand bombing on IS

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By NewsGram News Desk

Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is the latest head of state joining the international chorus of ‘taking refugees’ and ‘attacking IS’. Abbott said on Wednesday that Australia will permanently take 12,000 refugees from war-torn Syria and will expand its bombing mission against IS into Syria “within days”.

This refugee intake would be on the top of Australia’s annual commitment of taking in 13,750 refugees from around the world, Xinhua news agency reported.

29-Tony-Abbott-AFP“Australia will re-settle an additional 12,000 refugees from the Syria/Iraq conflict,” Abbott announced at a media conference.

“These will be permanent resettlement places over and above Australia’s existing humanitarian program of 13,750 this year, which rises to 18,750 in 2018-19, the prime minister said.

Abbott said “Our focus for these new, 12,000 resettlement places will be those most in need of permanent protection… women, children and families from persecuted minorities who have sought temporary refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey… the most vulnerable of all.”

Abbott said while he would like the resettlement to occur “as quickly as possible”, background checks would be taking place.

Earlier, however, he had stated that the nation would include the Syrian number in its annual commitment itself. The latest statement means that the PM has listened to the international cry on helping the Syrian refugees.

At the same press conference, the government also said it would allocate $30.1 million to aid agencies working in the Middle East just a day after the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) slammed Australia for its lack of contributions in 2015.

“We will directly pay for the support of 240,000 displaced people in countries neighboring Syria and Iraq through the UNHCR and other agencies,” Abbott said.

Meanwhile, Australia has also signed off on expanding air force operations into Syria.

Abbot said Australia’s national security committee had rubber-stamped the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) expansion into Syria, saying operation could begin “within days”.

Australia already runs bombing mission against IS forces in Iraq, but Abbott said it was time to defeat IS at its source in Syria.

“We cannot defeat Daesh in Iraq unless we defeat Daesh in Syria,” Abbot said.

“I emphasize that our aircraft will be targeting IS, not the Assad regime, evil though it is,” the prime minister said.

With inputs from IANS

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Here’s Why Australia’s Federal Court Sued Facebook

The information was exposed to the risk of being disclosed to Cambridge Analytica and used for political profiling purposes, and to other third parties

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The Australian Information Commissioner alleged that the personal information of Australian Facebook users was disclosed to the personality quiz app "This is Your Digital Life" for a purpose other than the purpose for which the information was collected, in breach of the Privacy Act 1988. Pixabay

Australia’s privacy watchdog on Monday said it is taking Facebook to the Federal Court, alleging privacy breaches linked to the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal.

The Australian Information Commissioner alleged that the personal information of Australian Facebook users was disclosed to the personality quiz app “This is Your Digital Life” for a purpose other than the purpose for which the information was collected, in breach of the Privacy Act 1988.

The information was exposed to the risk of being disclosed to Cambridge Analytica and used for political profiling purposes, and to other third parties. “We claim these actions left the personal data of around 311,127 Australian Facebook users exposed to be sold and used for purposes including political profiling, well outside users’ expectations,” Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said in a statement.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal which made global headlines in 2018 affected over 87 million users worldwide, leading to severe scrutiny of Facebook over its practices of protecting user data. “All entities operating in Australia must be transparent and accountable in the way they handle personal information, in accordance with their obligations under Australian privacy law,” Falk said.

“We consider the design of the Facebook platform meant that users were unable to exercise reasonable choice and control about how their personal information was disclosed,” Falk said. Facebook’s default settings facilitated the disclosure of personal information, including sensitive information, at the expense of privacy, according to Commissioner Falk.

The statement of claim lodged in the Australia Federal Court on Monday alleges that from March 2014 to May 2015, Facebook disclosed the personal information of Australian Facebook users to This Is Your Digital Life, in breach of Australian Privacy Principle 6.

Most of those users did not install the app themselves, and their personal information was disclosed via their friends’ use of the app. The statement of claim also alleges that Facebook did not take reasonable steps during this period to protect its users’ personal information from unauthorised disclosure.

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Australia’s privacy watchdog on Monday said it is taking Facebook to the Federal Court, alleging privacy breaches linked to the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal. Pixabay

The Federal Court in Australia can impose a civil penalty of up to $1,700,000 for each serious and/or repeated interference with privacy as per the penalty rate applicable in 2014-15. The US regulators in December last year said that the now-defunct British data analytics and consulting company engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting.

The ruling came after Facebook earlier agreed to pay a record-breaking $5 billion to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as fine for users’ privacy violations in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

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The UK’s data protection watchdog imposed on Facebook a fine of 500,000 pounds in 2018 over the Cambridge Analytica data breaches. (IANS)