Australian laws are lagging and allow big technology companies to impose their will on Australian citizens without them knowing it, according to women’s rights activist and cyber security expert Manal al-Sharif.

Speaking to UTS journalism students she warned of the unregulated power of big technology companies and how ‘Dark Tech’ risks our privacy and wider democracy in Australia.

Al-Sharif was the first woman to be jailed for driving in Saudi Arabia and spearheaded the ‘Women to Drive’ campaign. She now resides in Australia following persistent persecution in her home country.

From a highly regulated and controlling society in Saudi Arabia, al-Sharif compares similarities to Australia, arguing awareness is key, and simple steps must be taken on a personal front to ensure your data and privacy is safe and protected.