Privacy Law Reform

The Privacy Act 1988 has recently been amended to make a number of significant changes to privacy laws in Australia.

The most important changes include:

1. The Privacy Act now includes a set of 13 privacy principals called Australian Privacy Principals (APPs). These APPs will replace the Information Privacy Principals (IPPs) that applied to Australian government agencies and also the National Privacy Principals (NPPs) that applied to certain private sector organisations. Some of the APPs differ from the existing principals, including those in relation to use and disclosure of personal information for the purpose of direct marketing.

2. Enhanced powers for the office of the Australian Information Commissioner to conduct assessments of privacy compliance, accept enforceable undertakings and seek civil penalties with respect to serious or repeated breaches of privacy.

3. Changes to credit reporting laws. The Act now includes new credit reporting provisions including:

  • The introduction of more comprehensive credit reporting and a simplified correction and complaints process;
  • The introduction of civil penalties for breaches of some credit reporting provisions;
  • A requirement for credit providers to be a member of an external dispute resolution scheme recognised under the Act in order to be able to participate in the credit reporting system.

Please contact us if you have any queries or would like our advice with respect to your privacy obligations.

Author: Cathy Drake