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2019-05-02

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Clarity surrounding privacy concerns with Samsung S9 and other field devices

Your Union has been consulting with Telstra over the issuing of new Samsung S9 phones to field workforce members.

As part of this consultation, privacy concerns were raised by your Union Officials led by WA Branch Organiser Clinton Thomas and Divisional President Shane Murphy. The Union was particularly concerned over the phone’s GPS capabilities and to what extent they would be utilised by Telstra.

In response to our concerns, Telstra has confirmed that the GPS capabilities of the phones will not be used for the purpose of actively monitoring employees’ locations.

The GPS capabilities can, and will, be utilised in the following two scenarios:

  1. Samsung Knox is pre-installed on most Samsung smartphones and is the enterprise management software suite Telstra uses to allow employees to securely access Telstra’s internal network and data. Samsung Knox enables remote management of the phones from an enterprise level and will be utilised by Telstra to push the company’s specific work-related apps to the phone and to manage the phone’s security – specifically, the ability for Telstra to disable access to the phone and ‘brick it’ remotely and recover its last known location of the device, should it be lost or stolen – maintaining the integrity of sensitive Telstra’s data. Samsung Knox will not be used to track the location of the device unless it is reported as lost or stolen.
  2. A number of business apps such as Maps4P and Promise are used in the field, which use location data while the apps are in use.

The enterprise management software does provide Telstra with limited information about the phone, but not user data.

For clarity, the following information on your device can be seen by Telstra IT:

Owner, Model, Device Name, Operating System, Serial Number, Company Apps and Manufacturer.

Telstra cannot see the following information on your device:

Call history, Location, Text Messages, Camera Roll, Personal Email, Contacts and Calendar, Personal Data, Web History and Personal Apps.

We believe this clarity, provided as part of the usual consultation process between your Union and Telstra, should alleviate any privacy concerns members may have in relation to the new phones and other technology devices you may utilise to perform your role. However, if you do require any further information, please contact your State Branch Office for assistance.


Yours faithfully,

Greg Rayner, DIVISIONAL SECRETARY

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