27 September 2023

Warm welcome for review of Privacy Act

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The Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk has welcomed a review of the Australian Privacy Act 1988, saying it provided a landmark opportunity to ensure the country’s privacy framework could respond to new challenges in the digital environment.

The review is to be led by the Attorney-General’s Department which has released its terms of reference and timeline, along with an Issues Paper.

In a statement, Attorney-General Christian Porter said several recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry would be considered as part of the review.

“These include expanding the scope of the Privacy Act to cover technical data and other online identifiers; and strengthening privacy notice and consent requirements,” Mr Porter said.

“Australians are spending more and more of their time online and more of their personal information is being collected, handled and stored,” he said.

“Technology is also rapidly evolving in areas such as artificial intelligence and data analytics, which is why it is crucial that we have a privacy regime that is fit for purpose, can grow trust, empower consumers and support the growing digital economy.”

Mr Porter said public submissions on the Issues Paper would be accepted until 29 November.

Commissioner Falk said the review was an important step to ensure effective regulation that protected the community’s personal information and supported an innovative economy into the future.

“Australia has the opportunity to be at the forefront of privacy and data protection, with laws and practices that increase consumer trust and confidence in the protection of personal information and underpin innovation and economic growth,” Commissioner Falk said.

“The review of the Privacy Act will help ensure that our regulatory framework can protect personal information into the future and hold organisations to account,” she said.

Commissioner Falk said issues such as consent requirements, additional privacy rights, accountability measures and the Privacy Act’s coverage were fundamental to how privacy challenges of the future would be addressed.

The Attorney-General’s 89-page Privacy Act Review Issues Paper, including information on how to have a say, can be accessed at this PS News link.

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