The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has released Discussion Paper 72,
Review of Australian Privacy Law, containing 301 proposals for overhauling Australia’s complex and costly
privacy laws and practices.
The ALRC proposes there be a single set of privacy principles for
information-handling across all sectors, and all levels of government.
This will make it easier and less expensive for organisations to
comply, and much more simple for people to understand their rights.
Other issues discussed include:
- The protection of personal information stored or processed overseas
- a new system of data breach notification
- the removal of the
exemption for political parties from the Privacy Act.
- introducing a new statutory cause of action where an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy has been breached
- abolishing the fee for ‘silent’ telephone numbers
- expanding the enforcement powers of the Privacy Commissioner
- imposing civil penalties for serious breaches of the Act
- introducing a more comprehensive system of credit reporting.
ALRC is seeking community feedback on these proposals before a final
report and recommendations are completed in March 2008. Submissions close on 7 December 2007.