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Monday, July 15, 2024

University of Melbourne Violates Privacy of Pro-Palestinian Students

The University of Melbourne in Australia is being investigated for violating privacy laws by using surveillance to identify students participating in a sit-in protest against the conflict in Gaza, local media reported on Monday.

Twenty-one pro-Palestine student protesters at the university were previously served with “general misconduct” notices, which included CCTV footage and detailed records of their WiFi usage, as evidence of alleged misconduct.

The Australian Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner has confirmed it had launched an investigation and indicated that a compliance notice may be issued in case of a significant breach, according to the Australian daily The Age.

A compliance notice mandates an organization to address any breaches within a set timeframe to adhere to the Privacy and Data Protection Act in this instance.

As of 8.00 a.m. on Monday, there has been no response from the University of Melbourne.

Earlier, the university in Australia faced backlash for serving “general misconduct” notices to pro-Palestinian students, with several organizations voicing support for students.

Israel, flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

Read More: Gaza Faces Catastrophic Hunger Amid Israeli Offensive, Says UN WFP

Nearly 38,200 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and 88,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.