Microsoft

Default Cloud Voicemail Language

When Cloud Voicemail a.k.a. Azure Voicemail (which replaced Unified Messaging) is activated for a mailbox, a default language is set. This value is known as the ‘promptlanguage’ and according to Microsoft Documentation will be set based on the default language for your organisation in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

The problem is, that value is ‘English’ and doesn’t define which regional set of English you want – en-US, en-UK, en-AU etc. The full list of language codes is available here.

With Engish set as the preferred language, Azure Voicemail decides that you must be wanting en-US as your promptlanguage – which you may not actually want. The default voicemail greeting is rather different when set to en-US vs en-UK vs en-AU.

If you’d like to see what a user has, use the PowerShell command:

Set-CsOnlineVoicemailUserSettings -identity XYZ@XYZ.COM

and check the value ‘PromptLanguage’.

On a per user basis, this value can be changed either by the user themselves at https://mysettings.lync.com/voicemail or by an admin with the PowerShell command:

Set-CsOnlineVoicemailUserSettings -identity XYZ@XYZ.COM -PromptLanguage en-AU

This still doesn’t solve the tenant wide problem, or set a default.

For existing users, we just need to get a list of users and change the promptlanguage setting, which can be done with this set of PowerShell commands (includes connecting to SfBO which can be used for the above command also):

$sfbsession = new-csonlinesession -username adminaccount@conotoso.com -OverrideAdminDomain contoso.onmicrosoft.com


Import-PSSession $sfbsession


$users = Get-CsOnlineuser


foreach ($user in $users) {set-csonlinevoicemailusersettings -identity $user.userprincipalname -promptlanguage en-AU}

Note the use of the -OverrideAdminDomain switch, which I learnt from this blog post in case you are having issues connecting to Skype for Business Online.

This process also may take a long time depending how many users you have, as very roughly it takes about a second per user to change the value.

This will fix your existing users, but what about new ones? You could have the setting modified set as part of the user creation process, but that’s an extra step and you’d need to wait for Azure Voicemail to be ready – in my experience it’s not a service that’ll be available quickly after enabling. At this stage I haven’t found a way to do it though, so you’ll need to consider adding this configuration as part of user setup.

If you haven’t even thought about what language you’re using – have a look and try each one, as you might find one that you’re happier with than the US.

Microsoft Teams Dial In Number Licensing – Conference Bridging

Microsoft Teams does a bunch of different things. One of those things, is meetings. It does it quite well too, and many more people have started using Microsoft Teams this year. There’s a few different types of meetings (including Live Events) and a huge amount of content available (video) on advice on how to run one.

However, if you’re not using Microsoft Teams as a full phone system, then meetings are restricted to software based only – you need to use the Microsoft Teams client via browser or full install (on desktop or mobile) to join; there’s no dial in number.

It is possible to buy licenses to give users the ability to create a meeting that also has dial-in support (called Conference Bridging), as long as you are a Volume or Licensing customer. If you meet the pre-requisites, then this just needs an Audio Conferencing license of some sort, with the standard license being per user (like most other licenses) and several dollars a month. In Australia at the time of writing, a license costs RRP $5.50AU if you already have an E1 or E3 license.

For companies that have a central set of staff creating meetings on behalf of the company, then buying a small amount of licenses just for those users can be a good way of getting the dial in option to add value and give a rather cheap way of providing a full audio and video conferencing solution.

A much less common option method of providing a dial in number for Microsoft Teams meetings is using Audio Conferencing pay-per-minute. The way this works is by loading up credits into
Communications Credits
, applying the free license to whomever you like, and anyone using a dial-in number starts using those credits. The rates vary wildly based on many scenarios, so you’ll need to check them out for yourself – from less than 10 cents AU upward.

Quick run through of what to set up – read it all before doing any of it!



Communications Credits

Microsoft’s doco explains how to do this rather clearly:

In the Microsoft 365 admin center > Billing > Purchase Services > Add Ons you can select Communication Credits to add the credits, and you can add credit manually at any time. You can also enable the Auto-recharge option, which will allow automatic account refills when the balance falls below the threshold that you set.

I couldn’t see that Add Ons category, so searched for “Communication Credits’ under the Purchase Services area, had no results but then saw a link to check the Add-ons category’. On that list I could then see Communication Credits to add. For me in Australia, the minimum was $20.

The auto recharge option can only be triggered when the amount goes below $50 as a minimum (smallest number the field would accept), but I could recharge for another $20, so that’s a fairly small commitment if you expect minimal usage. I set this when I had $20 in, and it did a double recharge to get over the $50 mark instantly.


Audio Conferencing pay-per-minute

You can only get this if you’re a Volume and Licensing customer of Microsoft.

This was the tricky one to find out, but easy once you know what to ask for. You’ll need to ask your license reseller/LAR for:

AudioConfPayPerMin ShrdSvr ALNG SubsVL MVL PerUsr , SKU: HUR-00002

It’s a $0 license, and you may need to say how many licenses (they’re free so go high).

Once they order it, the licenses should turn up like any other under an enterprise agreement, called “Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing Pay-Per-Minute”.


Applying the license

You can’t just apply the Communications Credits license to a user, as it’ll tell you they need to have an Audio Conferencing plan. You can do both at the same time manually, as long as the user has a Skype for Business Online or Microsoft Teams license.

If you want to use Azure AD and assign a license to a group you’ll need to tick all three licenses; Communications Credits, Audio Conferencing pay-per-minute, and Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business. It doesn’t matter if members of the group already get part of the license from another group membership, it requires all three to be applied.


Microsoft Teams Configuration

There’s not much to do here, you might already be configured and ready to go – but you can check your Conference Bridging settings in the Teams admin center and make sure you’re happy with the default number and options.


You’re done! It can take a little while for the dial in number to show in the Teams signature when creating a meeting via Outlook – maybe a few hours from my experience.

You can check the status of your credits in the Microsoft 365 admin center, under Billing > Your Products > Communications Credits (it’ll have the Skype for Business logo).

Hopefully this helps people that have Teams, but aren’t ready to go to it for a full voice solution yet, while allowing others to dial into meetings (very handy when someone doesn’t have a good internet connection).

Note: You can see how your credits are being used here:

  1. Sign in to Office 365, navigate to the “Teams admin portal”, then “Legacy Portal” on the left menu.
  2. Navigate to “Reports” on the left menu, then the “PSTN minute pools” tab.

Stopping Skype for Business Autostarting in Windows 10

Should be simple, right?

I installed Skype for Business for Office 365 on my home PC. I had Office 365 ProPlus, and the version of Skype for Business has to match that.

Worked great, and realising I didn’t want it running all the time on my home PC, I changed the option to ‘Automatically start the app when I log on to Windows’ in the Personal options:

The next day over the weekend, I noticed that Skype for Business had decided to still launch at login. Weird, so I checked what Task Manager had to say:

Skype for Business wasn’t even listed. I started mucking around a bit more, ticking the option to automatically start, pressing OK, turning it off, pressing OK, rebooting – but every time, Skype for Business just turned up, like a strange uncle you never invite to dinner but somehow still finds out and turns up every night.

Maybe it’s in the Startup folder in the Start Menu? Is that still a thing in Windows 10? Yes it is. It’s under C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup – replacing ‘username’ with what you’re thinking you should replace it with. Except, there was nothing there.

I also checked the standard Run locations in the registry, and then even searched for all instances of lync.exe which is still what runs Skype for Business… no hits that make any sense to it running at startup.

Of course, my next step is to complain on Twitter:

Interesting – Skype for Business runs at user login, but it’s not listed in Task Manager > Startup, or in the registry’s Run locations. The app even has ‘run at startup’ turned off. Not in the Start Menu Startup folder either. Don’t understand what’s triggering it…— Adam Fowler (@AdamFowler_IT) April 12, 2020

No winners in the responses – I checked sysinternaltools autoruns as suggested by Neil Clinch, and Guy Leech had a suggestion on how to completely block lync.exe from running ever, but I still wanted to use Skype for Business.

My Googling hadn’t fared any results, and I was getting desperate. I actually took a chance and read some answers.microsoft.com threads (which are usually sfc /scannow or unhelpful answers that didn’t read the question properly) and user Daniel Wherle had responded to a thread with my exact problem.

The answer was a setting called ‘Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my device and reopen my apps after an update or restart’. This is hidden in Windows 10 Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. It’s down the very bottom:

After I turned this option off and rebooted, Skype for Business no longer launched at startup. I even launched it manually, and restarted while it was running.

I turned the setting back on and rebooted, Skype for Business still didn’t autostart – that is, until I ran it with the option on, exited and rebooted.

It’s worth noting that even after completely exiting Skype for Business, lync.exe still ran in the background. I suspect this is part of the problem, because it also won’t re-open until that task is killed. I don’t have any other Office apps open, and it seems like a common enough problem that others will hit it – maybe with other programs too and this Windows 10 option enabled.

A strange one, but probably as far as I’ll dig on the issue.

Small Business Data Breaches in Australia and My Experience with One

What happens when a company you deal with in Australia has a data breach, and their annual turnover is less than $3 million? I thought I’d find out, after this happed to me. Here’s the events in chronological order with some information censored:

The Dropbox Email

I receive an email from my Strata Management company in October 2019 whom I’d already regarded quite low in their digital actions – emailing without unsubscribe options, using email addresses given to them purely for Strata related comms for commercial purposes – but this was more concerning again:

To me this was immediately dodgy and cried out of an account being compromised. The file is still there right now, ~ 6 months later. It’s a standard jump file – redirecting you off to phish your creds.

The credential stealing page you get to from the ‘Access Document’ link above is down – the entire domain doesn’t respond, so at least nobody will get caught by this link.

I email back with what I thought was correct information from a quick Google on it, but the details are their problem to work out and send an email to the address listed on the website, rather than the compromised account:

From: Adam Fowler
To: admin@company

Hi,It appears XXX account has been compromised by a third party, which includes my personal contact details on it. You’ll need to comply with the government’s Data breach standards: https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/data-breaches/

Under law I believe you have 30 days to disclose this breach: https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/data-breaches/make-a-data-breach-complaint/

Thanks
Adam Fowler

Two weeks pass… nothing. I follow up:

From: Adam Fowler
To: admin@company, person@company

Hi,

Any chance of getting a response on this?

Thanks
Adam Fowler

I get an out of office from the person, but it doesn’t take long for their manager to respond:

From: Manager@company
To: Adam Fowler

Hi Adam,

Thank you for your email and I apologise for the delayed response – the front office thought it may have been another scam email due to the multiple links and opted to delete and ignore it.

As you are aware, we do have 30 days to respond to this with the breach happening 15 days ago we still have time on our side. In saying that, we actually have our IT guys coming in today again to assist me with the lodgement and I will be finalising it either tonight or over the weekend.

I can confirm we acted promptly on the issue and our IT guys responded extremely fast as well.

Thank you for your concern and notification, I will confirm with you once this has been lodged.

Have a great weekend.

This sounded sort of promising – beyond the weird conclusion my email was another scam, they seemed to be treating this seriously and properly. I was content with this and waited for the confirmation that was promised.

That confirmation didn’t come, so 1 month later I followed it up. This is where it went downhill:

From: Manager@company
To: Adam Fowler

Hi Adam,

I did lodge this and I spoke with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

As far as I am aware from them there was no further action required from us on their end.

Kind regards,

OK… that’s great that they’ve met legal requirements, but that’s not really what I cared about:

From: Adam Fowler
To: manager@company

Hi Manager,

I’m more concerned if any of my personal data was compromised after your investigation rather than what data breach notification steps you’ve taken with the government?

Thanks
Adam Fowler

Another concering response:

From: Manager@company
To: Adam Fowler

Hi Adam,

No personal details have been compromised from this. They did not have access to our server.

Kind regards,

This takes me to a conclusion pretty quickly that they really have no idea what they’re talking about, or just trying to get rid of me because I’m a hassle. I call them on it:

From: Adam Fowler
To: manager@company

Hi Manager,

That’s obviously incorrect, my email address is personal information, and XXX’s mailbox may have contained other personal information that I’ve emailed them, such as the address of my unit.

Apparently what I’ve asked for hasn’t processed and they’ve given up:

From: Manager@company
To: Adam Fowler

What would you like for me to do Adam, I’m not sure on what steps you are asking me to take? 

This got me annoyed. I have no idea what data they have on me and what could have potentially been accessed, so I did a bit of research and shot off what I wanted, outlining why I was concerned:

From: Adam Fowler
To: manager@company

Advise on what data of mine was actually accessed. “None” isn’t true or I wouldn’t have received a phishing email. The responses you’re giving don’t give me any confidence that you’ve actually had this investigated, or have any reasonable understanding of the statements you’re making. My next step is to lodge a complaint with the OAIC, which I’d rather not bother to do.

You hold money that is partly mine, my personal details and I’m not sure what else.

Separately, I’ll actually request you provide a copy of all personal information you hold on me, as per https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/your-privacy-rights/your-personal-information/access-your-personal-information/

Access your personal information — OAIC
Australian privacy law gives you a general right to access your personal information.This includes your health information.. An organisation or agency must give you access to your personal information when you request it, except where the law allows them to refuse your request.www.oaic.gov.au

Please let me know what other details you need from me for this request.

Three days later I get this answer:

From: Manager@company
To: Adam Fowler

Hi Adam,

Below is all of the information we have for you.

Salutation: Mr Fowler

Mr Adam Fowler

*My home address*

*my mobile*

*email address different to the one they’ve sent this email to*

We don’t have your bank details and as I mentioned, they did not have access our server so they would not have received the above information.

I’ve searched XXXs emails over the past two days and you do reference your unit, but never your home address.

It was obvious they weren’t doing this properly. They didn’t list the address of the ACTUAL PROPERTY they managed for me, nor the email address they’d just emailed me on. I decided to just stop responding and lodge a complaint with OAIC; I didn’t really have anything to lose by doing so. Lodging a complaint was pretty easy, there wasn’t too much info I had to provide and I included the email thread above.

The next day after filling in the form, I received a fairly generic email which contained the case number I’d been given:

From: OAIC
To: Adam Fowler

Dear Adam Fowler

Thank you for your correspondence received on 2 December 2019. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has registered this matter as a privacy complaint by you about STRATA MANGEMENT COMPANY

We aim to contact you further about your complaint as soon as we are able to. Information about what happens to your privacy complaint is available on our website, www.oaic.gov.au.

Actions you can take now

·      Generally for us to consider your complaint you first need to have complained to the respondent. While waiting to hear from us, we recommend that you continue to pursue resolution of your complaint with the respondent organisation.

·      You may also be able to lodge your complaint with a recognised External Dispute Resolution (EDR) Scheme. A list of recognised EDR schemes is available on the OAIC’s website. These EDR schemes cover financial services (including credit reports), telecommunications, and energy and water providers. If the OAIC considers your complaint would be more effectively or appropriately dealt with by a recognised EDR scheme, we may decline to investigate the matter.

·      If your matter relates to consumer credit, please forward a copy of your credit file to this office, as well as copies of any correspondence you have received from the credit provider, credit reporting bodies and any dispute resolution body you have complained to about this matter. You should also include the relevant password if the copy of your credit file is password protected.

Next steps

Unfortunately we are not able to allocate all complaints to a case officer as soon as they are received. At present there are delays on some matters being allocated because we have had an increase in the number of complaints we have received.

At this time, it may be several months before an officer contacts you about your matter. We will contact you earlier if we are able to.

Once your complaint is allocated a staff member will contact you to discuss the next steps in our complaints handling process. The OAIC aims to resolve privacy complaints by conciliation, whereby the parties resolve the matter through discussion and negotiation. Unless we consider it inappropriate to do so, your complaint will likely be referred to the respondent for it to contact you directly to try and resolve the matter.

Please let us know if your contact details change, if the matter has been resolved directly with the respondent or if other circumstances change.

You can write to us or call on our Enquiries Line on 1300 363 992 (local call cost, but calls from mobile and pay phones may incur higher charges). If you do contact us it will help us if you quote your complaint reference number which is found at the top left hand side of this correspondence.

We will arrange for letters and telephone calls to be translated if you would like to communicate with us in a language other than English. You can also let us know if you need other assistance, including documents in other formats or larger fonts.

Yours sincerely

Enquiries Team

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

That didn’t give me much hope, so I left it at that and moved on.

2 months later, I received a call on my mobile. It was from the OAIC who had started to review my case. We had a chat, she understood the situation, completely agreed they hadn’t appeared to have done their due diligence in the data breach or provide me with my personal data as requested.

It sounded promising and I was a bit nervous. Their standard approach was to talk to the company and somehow come to an early resolution. She emailed me what was discussed too:

From: OAIC
To: Adam Fowler

Dear Mr Fowler

I refer to your privacy complaint about STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY , made under s 36 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

I am conducting preliminary inquiries under s 42 of the Privacy Act. The purpose of the inquiries is to establish whether this matter can be resolved quickly by the Early Resolution Team.

The Early Resolution team aims to resolve matters within 4 weeks. If the complaint cannot be resolved by 28 February 2020 and the OAIC determines further review or investigation is required then the matter will be referred to an investigations officer in another team.

If the matter is referred to another team, it can take several months to be allocated to a case officer. We therefore encourage both parties to try and resolve the matter through this early resolution process.

Next steps

We have provided a copy of your complaint to STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY and requested it provide the OAIC with a response to your allegations and to your proposed resolution.

We have also invited to contact you directly to try and resolve this matter. In our experience, direct contact between the parties leads to a higher chance of resolution.

We have requested STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY provide an update in a week’s time.

I am happy to discuss this matter and to clarify any questions you may have about our Early Resolution process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly on XXX or email to oaic.gov.au.

Yours sincerely 

Investigations Officer
Dispute Resolution Branch

The same day though, my hopes of anything were completely shot down:

From: OAIC
To: Adam Fowler

Dear Mr Fowler

In my conversations with  STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY it appears it is a small business operator and may therefore not have any obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act).

The APPs apply to businesses and not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million and to all private health service providers irrespective of turnover.

I have asked  STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY to respond to questions to confirm it is a small business operator and to provide evidence of their turnover or a statutory declaration.

If  STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY is a small business operator we will be unable to take any further action in the matter. I will write to you to let you know if this is the case along with our intention to decline to investigate the matter.

I was rather confident this company didn’t turn over $3 million a year. However, the manager did still call me and after advising he didn’t have to respond legally. I didn’t really say much since I had no legal standing now and in the laws eyes, they were in the right. They attempted to reset the password so I could access my own data from their systems – he couldn’t get that working so I did a password reset myself. Their password reset process actually sent me an email that contained my old password in plain text – ‘dontsendthisout’ – which I’d set a few years ago after they’d sent me my password in plain text via snail mail, along with the username and login URL. As I said at the start, I didn’t expect much from this company.

The data they had on me they said, would all be in this app. Again this of course isn’t true because of the data in their emails, but I felt defeated and didn’t press on this.

It was of course confirmed that they didn’t turn over $3 million a year:

Dear Mr Fowler

I refer to your privacy complaint about STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY, made under s 36 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act).

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) conducted preliminary inquiries into your complaint under section 42 of the Privacy Act.

I have reviewed your complaint and I do not consider there has been an interference with your privacy on the basis that  STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY appears to be a small business operator. The reasons for this view are explained below. You now have an opportunity to comment before I make a final decision.

Small business operator exemption

The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act cover many private sector businesses in Australia, but there are exceptions. In particular, many small businesses are exempt from the obligations outlined in the APPs in the Privacy Act. Under the Privacy Act, a small business operator is a business with an annual turnover of $3 million or less that:

·      is not a health service provider

·      does not trade in personal information

·      is not a contracted service provider for a Commonwealth contract

·      is not a credit reporting body

·      is not related to a body corporate that carries on a business that is not a small business

·      does not operate a residential tenancies database.

In response to our inquiries,  STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY provided information, including its Business activity statements (BAS) to establish that its annual turnover and activities are such that it meets the Privacy Act’s definition of a small business operator.

This means that  STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY is not covered by the APPs in the Privacy Act and therefore there can be no interference with your privacy under the Privacy Act through STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY’s actions in this instance.

Next steps

Section 41(1)(a) of the Privacy Act gives the Commissioner the discretion not to investigate a complaint if she is satisfied that the act or practice complained about is not an interference with privacy, as defined in the Privacy Act.

As STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY appears to meet the Privacy Act’s definition of a small business operator, I intend to decline to investigate your complaint under section 41(1)(a) of the Privacy Act.

However, before I make a final decision I invite you, should you wish to do so, to provide a written response to this email. I would appreciate receiving any response by 11 March 2020. If I do not hear from you by this date, the OAIC will make a decision based on the available information and close your complaint.

If you would like to discuss your complaint, I may be reached XXX during business hours, or email oaic.gov.au.

Yours sincerely


Investigations Officer
Dispute Resolution Branch

I briefly responded saying I couldn’t dispute their annual turnover, and the act is the act.

The final emails redeemed themselves a bit, when the CEO emailed me without further prompt:

Dear Adam,

I understand you have made a complaint in relation to the dropbox email that was sent out when XXX’s email was hacked. As you were not satisfied with our responses, I have contacted my IT team and asked them to email me an explanation of what happened and what would have been hacked.   Please find below an email from our IT Company.   YYY is happy for you to contact him directly if you need, but I would ask that you cc me in on any email.  I have not copied him into this email to protect your email address.

I have inserted his email below.

Hi Adam,

It is our understanding that the breach was caused by XXX clicking through a link in a scam email and it tricked her into putting in her email password. As such that gave the hackers access to her Office 365 based email account. Once noticed, that day, we changed her password and confirmed they didn’t have access anymore.

It did not give them access to any other email accounts, though we changed all passwords to be sure anyway.

And it did not in any way give them access to the server where STRATA MANAGEMENT COMPANY store files and run their management databases. The server is not linked to Office 365 at all, and even if she used the same password for 365 as her PC/server then it wouldn’t matter as she didn’t have remote access allowed on her account, and our remote access also requires a certificate that the hackers didn’t have access to. So I am certain they never had access to the server.

Subsequently there has also been no signs of any breach of the server or anything further on her email account.

So in short you can be assured that only her email was breached.

As for what they did access or download from her email I cannot say, we can’t tell that from the logging available in 365. It seems unlikely to me they did download information. The usual thing with these hacks is they use the compromised account to perpetrate another scam to force a bank transfer. I’d say that they worked out she wasn’t responsible for bank transfers and so instead used her account to try to hack more email accounts.

So the only data that they could have about you is anything you emailed to XXX, with the exception of anything she deleted after you sent it and before they hacked in.

Let me know if you want any more information.

I felt that at least they’d now had a better understanding as to what happened, and MAYBE cared a bit more about the impact of it.

From: Adam Fowler
To: CEO@comany

Hi CEO,

Thanks for the additional details and the explanation makes sense. I’d also expect they’d do basic searches for things in an account like credit card information and bank details which is why I was asking what XXX may have had in her inbox in relation to me.


The other question is why you didn’t have MFA in place on your Office 365 accounts – easy to do and protects the data that I send your company from these threats. I hope you’ve implemented it since, as it’s a relatively easy setting to turn on.

Thanks
Adam Fowler

The CEO thanked me for this email and said they’d pass it on to their IT department. I hope they’ve actually implemented MFA now as it seems their external IT support is reasonable, and I wouldn’t expect a smaller company to have advanced Office 365 logging features available in an E5 plan to see what was accessed exactly. They’re still the company that holds the money for the Strata pool of funds, so I care that our money isn’t stolen.

Finally, the OAIC closed the case:

Hi Adam

Thank you for your emails and feedback on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC) 26 February 2020 view that there had not been an interference with your privacy on the basis that STRATA COMPANY, is a small business operator.

As a small business operator, STRATA COMPANY does not have to follow the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), so it does not have to provide you with a copy of your personal information, or follow any of the other APPs in relation to security, use or disclosure of your personal information in the Privacy Act. It may have other legal obligations in relation to how it handles personal information.

I acknowledge your concerns and view that regardless of the technicalities of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act), your privacy has been breached.

However, as defined in the Privacy Act , an interference with privacy can only occur when an APP entity breaches an APP in relation to personal information about the individual (section 13). As STRATA COMPANY meets the definition of a small business operator in the Privacy Act, it is not an APP entity which is subject to the provisions of the APPs in the Privacy Act, and it cannot interfere or breach your privacy as specified in the Privacy Act.

Decision

Section 41(1)(a) of the Privacy Act gives the Commissioner the discretion not to investigate a complaint if she is satisfied that the act or practice complained about is not an interference with privacy, as defined in the Privacy Act.

As STRATA COMPANY is exempt from the provisions of the APPs in the Privacy Act, I have decided under s 41(1)(a) of the Privacy Act not to investigate the complaint on the grounds that there is no interference with your privacy as defined in the Privacy Act.

The file is now closed.

Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of the Commissioner. I am sorry we are unable to assist you.

Yours sincerely

Investigations Officer
Dispute Resolution Branch

Although I could say that nothing happened out of this 5 month experience, I hope it was a valuable lesson for the staff there – and the CEO knows a bit more about it.

HEIC and HEIF Files Can’t Be Viewed on Windows 10

If you haven’t come across these file formats already, you probably will soon. Created by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and adopted by Apple amongst others, it’s looking like a replacement for the old JPEG image format.

The format was added in iOS11 and created when doing things like taking a photo. Early on the files were being converted back to JPEG in many situations, including OneDrive Photo Roll syncs.

I expect something else has changed recently, as I’m seeing the files turn up over email from other parties where I’d never seen them before. If I find out more I’ll update this post.

.HEIC and .HEIF files ‘appear’ to be the same thing, but at this stage I can’t clearly find information explaining if there’s a difference, and if so what that is.

These files can’t be natively opened on Windows 10 or earlier, but there’s a few options you have to view them.

OneDrive

If you have access to OneDrive or OneDrive for Business (which doesn’t take much, a free Microsoft account will do), you can copy these files into OneDrive, right click and ‘View Online’. Via your browser, you can then view the image in OneDrive without any extra software required. However, Microsoft documentation currently does not list the formats as being supported, and I’m also asking questions about this in a few areas. (Update 3rd March 2020 – Microsoft updated this page after I asked :) )

Windows 10

The native Photos app was supposed to have support for this as per these Insider Build notes. I’ve tested on a few different PCs including a fully patched standard Microsoft build laptop, and Photos doesn’t recognise the files. I’ve been told the support of the files needs the two Windows Store apps, and that matches my testing:

HEIF Image Extensions

HEVC Video Extensions from the Device Manufacturer

Both are created by ‘Microsoft Corporation’ so they’re not third party, and both are free. Once installed, HEIC and HEIF files work everywhere I’ve tried, including in the native Photos app.

There is also a paid HEVC Video Extensions version from Microsoft that costs $1.45AU, I’m not sure why you’d need this one over the one ‘from the Device Manufacturer’.

Frustratingly, the ‘HEVC Video Extensions from the Device Manufacturer’ app doesn’t seem to be available to add in Windows Store for Business, but the HEIF Image Extensions is. I’m asking around to try and have that resolved, if I can find someone to listen to me :) (Update 3rd March 2020 – this probably won’t change anytime soon for licensing reasons)

Converting

One final option is to convert a HEIC to JPEG. Here’s a quick guide using Linux via a Debian WSL image, installed from the Microsoft Store (thanks Purana for the tip!)

I’ve got a lot of unanswered questions in the above, but hoping this at least helps others that might get stuck in finding a working solution in the meantime.