Privacy regulators from across Australia issued a combined joint statement that called on Government Agencies, individuals and organisations to get ‘back to basics’ this Privacy Awareness Week and ensure they have covered the privacy fundamentals.
Recognising Privacy Awareness Week last week (1–7 May) the Commissioners signed a joint statement promoting their statement.
Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said Privacy Awareness Week was about the simple steps that everyone could put in place to protect personal information.
“Things have changed a great deal in the last few decades,” Ms Falk said.
“Since the first Australian Privacy Commissioner was appointed in 1989, the information and technology landscape has become significantly more complicated, and new technologies require us to move with the times – in business, as Government Agencies, in regulation and legislation, and as individuals,” she said.
“Organisations and Agencies now collect, use and disclose huge amounts of personal information.
“The practices to keep it safe, and to use it responsibly, need to keep pace.”
Ms Falk said Agencies and organisations should only collect personal information that was necessary for carrying out their functions and activities and take reasonable steps to secure it.
She said that once the information was no longer needed for any enduring legitimate purpose, it should be securely destroyed or permanently de-identified.
“Carrying information that is not needed creates additional risk, especially in the event of a data breach,” she said.
“For individuals, we can all take simple steps to make sure we don’t share personal information without good reason when accessing services or products, protect our accounts using multi-factor authentication and strong passphrases, and wipe data from old accounts and devices,” Ms Falk said.
“Australia’s privacy authorities will continue to work together to uphold privacy protections and promote awareness of the responsibilities of organisations and government agencies and the rights of individuals.”
In addition to Ms Falk, the joint statement was signed by State Records of South Australia, Stephanie Coleman; Victorian Information Commissioner Sven Bluemmel; Queensland Privacy Commissioner Paxton Booth; Director, Tasmanian Ombudsman Richard Connock; NSW Privacy Commissioner Samantha Gavel; Queensland Information Commissioner Rachel Rangihaeata; and Northern Territory Information Commissioner Peter Shoyer.
Ten points for Government Departments and Agencies to apply so they keep personal information safe can be accessed at this PS News link.