Biggest Changes to Privacy Laws in over 20 Years

The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012, passed Parliament today, and is due to come into effect in March 2014.  The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, says the new laws are an important milestone for privacy laws in Australia.  He is confident the reforms will enhance the protection of peoples’ personal information.

The reforms mean that, the same privacy principles will apply to Australian Government agencies and the private sector.

‘A single set of privacy principles, the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), should mean that it will be easier to comply with privacy laws, and for individuals to know what privacy laws protect the privacy of their personal information’, Mr Pilgrim said.

The reforms also introduce a number of changes to how personal information is handled, including when it can be used for direct marketing and sent overseas.  The laws also strengthen the powers of the Commissioner.

‘From the commencement of the new laws, I will be able to accept enforceable undertakings, seek civil penalties in the case of serious breaches of privacy, and conduct assessments of privacy performance for both Australian government agencies and private sector organisations.  While I will continue to work with agencies and businesses to help them comply with privacy laws, I will not shy away from using these powers in appropriate cases’, Mr Pilgrim said.

Full story here.

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