Privacy and credit reporting

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has released an Issues
Paper calling for public comment on Australia ’s credit reporting
system by 9 March 2007.

ALRC President Prof David Weisbrot said the credit reporting provisions of the Commonwealth Privacy Act were overly complex and hard to follow, and were under scrutiny as part of the ALRC’s major review of Australia’s privacy laws.

Prof Weisbrot said the ALRC issues paper, Review of Privacy—Credit Reporting Provisions (IP 32), outlines the strict limitations in Australia under the Privacy Act about the categories of personal information that may be collected and used as part of the credit reporting process.

The Commissioner in charge of the Inquiry, Prof Les McCrimmon, said
that the Issues Paper sets out the arguments for and against
comprehensive credit reporting and its potential impact on privacy.

IP 32 also looks at a range of reform options for credit reporting,
including whether new and separate legislation is required to regulate
credit reporting.

Prof McCrimmon said some of the issues being considered by the ALRC include:

  • the types of information held in credit information files and credit reports;
  • how credit reporting agencies and credit providers are required to protect personal information; and
  • the system for resolving complaints about credit reporting, including
    complaints about the accuracy of information on a credit file.

The ALRC also has launched a plain-English guide to the Inquiry, Reviewing Australia’s Privacy Laws: Is Privacy Passé? (IP 31 & 32—Overview).

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