26 September 2023

Privacy goes public for this week

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Australia’s privacy authorities have joined forces to highlight privacy as their foundation of trust between Government Agencies, the community and business.

Launching their 2022 Privacy Awareness Week campaign (2-8 May), Information and Privacy Commissioners and Ombudsmen from across the country signed a joint statement calling on Agencies to ensure their privacy policies continued to evolve in response to changing environments and expectations.

Signing her name to the Privacy Authorities Australia Statement, Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said that as the digital economy continued to grow, services went online and organisations considered new ways of handling personal information, “there is the opportunity to build on the fundamental role that good privacy practices play in making these initiatives a success.”

“That trust requires privacy as the foundation,” Ms Falk said.

“One of our key messages is that better privacy protections are not just a tool to prevent harms, but also an enabler of better services and stronger relationships between the community, business and Government Agencies,” she said.

“The public expects organisations to handle their information responsibly and be transparent and accountable.”

Ms Falk said organisations were more likely to be trusted with information when they’d demonstrated good privacy practices.

“While the 2022 awareness campaign highlights the importance of getting the foundations of privacy right, it is essential that an organisation’s privacy platform is not set in stone, but continually evolving and being upgraded to respond to economic and technological innovation and community expectations,” she said.

As part of the Privacy Week campaign, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has released tips for Government Agencies to help them build strong privacy foundations.

The Office’s tips cover Agency obligations; Updating privacy plans; Assigning privacy roles; Assessing privacy risks; Building in privacy by design; Simplifying privacy policy; Securing personal information; Staff training; Preparing for data breaches; and Reviewing practices.

The Statement was signed by the members of Privacy Authorities Australia, including Ms Falk; the Victorian Information Commissioner, Sven Bluemmel; Queensland Privacy Commissioner, Paxton Booth; Director of State Records at the Privacy Committee of South Australia, Simon Froude; NSW Privacy Commissioner, Samantha Gavel; Queensland Information Commissioner, Rachael Rangihaeata; Tasmanian Ombudsman, Richard Connock; and Northern Territory Information Commissioner, Peter Shoyer.

The OAIC’s tips for Departments and Agencies can be accessed at this PS News link and details of Privacy Awareness Week events are at this PS News link.

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