CoolGard and privacy

As with all software and app-based platforms, CoolGard captures various kinds of data (information) when performing its functions.

Much of the world’s data includes personal information that is highly sensitive. Common examples include the financial transactions handled by online banking portals; credit card details submitted for online purchases; location-tracking via widely-used apps and mobile devices; and the AI facial recognition used by popular platforms like Facebook to automatically identify people in photos when uploaded by another user.

Privacy depends on security because a breach in security could mean that data is illicitly obtained and exploited. This happens from time to time in some well-publicized instances, so it’s appropriate for people (and businesses) to ask questions about data security and privacy.

Privacy starts with security

There are two types of data security required to protect the information gathered by software systems, including CoolGard:

Data stored in the cloud 

Data captured by apps and some software is stored ‘in the cloud’, which basically means that it’s stored on a remote server and transmitted over the internet. Even online banking works this way. Coolgard’s cloud data security is compliant with Australian standards and equal or superior to the standards demanded by banking institutions and stock exchanges. In fact, the data security expert in charge of the IT team on CoolGard has managed data security for major stock exchanges, so security is an utmost priority with CoolGard and of course, CoolGard data is encrypted.

Another angle to consider with cloud data security is the access of authorized users to any sensitive data. CoolGard advises all organizations using the system to ensure that authorized managers and staff:

  • choose complicated passwords for CoolGard access
  • do not disclose their CoolGard login details to anyone
  • abide by company policy in relation to CoolGard data
  • have their CoolGard access terminated if they leave

Data stored on devices 

Most devices store some or all data onboard. People have always needed to protect their hardware from theft, and from unauthorized access on their premises or off their premises should theft occur. Businesses and other organizations can be relied upon to protect CoolGard devices to the same degree as any other vital and valuable piece of equipment. CoolGard devices are shipped with a default password for rapid setup. It’s up to the organization to change the password on the device to something unique once they’ve activated the software. CoolGard reminds organizations when they start using the system to change device passwords frequently and keep the devices secure. It’s just common sense.

CoolGard and your privacy

Depending on how an organization is using CoolGard, personal data may be captured via facial image scanning; QR code scanning and/or data entry for name, phone number, and/or email address; scanning of driver’s license or other identification; and answers to questions.

CoolGard doesn’t do anything with all this data, other than to protect data security in the cloud and make the data available to the organizations that are paying to use the system.

If you have any questions about what a particular organization is doing with CoolGard data, you can ask the organization for more information about its data collection and usage policy. It goes without saying that under Australian jurisdiction, however, relevant data cannot be withheld from court-warranted investigations and mandatory government requirements such as contact-tracing for COVID-19.

The choice remains yours

CoolGard is not a compulsory system but many organizations choose to use it for easier and more effective management of COVID-19 compliance and other potential risks.

If you have concerns about how any data collected by CoolGard is being used by an organization, ask the organization about its data privacy policy or look for a privacy policy displayed at the premises where the device is being used.

If for some reason you do not wish to have your image or information captured by CoolGard, you can ask someone at the premises if their policy allows you to enter the premises without electronic screening.

To be fair, just as you’re free not to enter premises where CoolGard is being used, the organization is within its right to refuse entry to anyone who declines to use CoolGard.

Read more about privacy

In the media and around dinner tables all over the world are discussions about the growing deployment of AI facial recognition, geo-tracking, and data capturing by governments and private enterprise. It is already widespread and COVID-19 has only hastened its inevitable advancement.

You can learn more about how organizations are allowed to use facial recognition technology in Australia by reading this article by Rick Sarre,
Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia, published July 10, 2020:

Facial recognition technology is expanding rapidly across Australia. Are our laws keeping pace?