Privacy Act review

The Commonwealth Government has released the terms of reference for the Attorney-General’s Department review of the Privacy Act 1988 together with a timeline for the review, and an Issues Paper.

The review will take account of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) 2019 Digital Platforms Inquiry final report (Background). The report considered the impact of online platforms on advertising and the media, together with a number of related privacy issues from a consumer perspective.

The Government is consulting on the following specific reforms:

  • updating the definition of ‘personal information’ to capture technical data and other online identifiers;
  • strengthening existing notification requirements;
  • strengthening consent requirements and pro-consumer defaults;
  • introducing a direct right of action to enforce privacy obligations under the Privacy Act;
  • the impact of the notifiable data breach scheme and its effectiveness in meeting its objectives;
  • whether a statutory tort for serious invasions of privacy should be introduced; and 
  • whether the Privacy Act should include a ‘right to erasure’

The review will be in addition to reforms announced by the Government in March 2019 to increase the maximum civil penalties under the Privacy Act and to develop a binding privacy code to apply to social media platforms and other online platforms that trade in personal information.

Separately the Government has released an exposure draft of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill which deals with when personal information can be disclosed by Australian Government agencies.

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David Jacobson

Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.

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