Australian privacy law set to be reviewed

The review comes after the Digital Platforms Inquiry and is part of work to promote competition, enhance consumer protection and establish a viable media landscape in the digital age

Australian privacy laws will be reviewed through the Attorney-General's department, the government recently announced. The inquiry is currently accepting submissions with an issues paper to be released at the end of this month.

The review of the Privacy Act 1988 follows the government’s response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Digital Platforms Inquiry, which included several recommendations to strengthen privacy protections. The government has already given in-principle agreement to several recommendations from the inquiry, including privacy laws covering technical data and other online identifiers, and strengthening privacy notice and consent requirements.

The review will consider a number of questions, including the scope and application of the Privacy Act, whether the Act effectively protects personal information and provides a practical and proportionate framework for promoting good privacy practices, and whether individuals should have direct rights of action to enforce privacy obligations under the Act.

Some of the other aspects of an updated privacy framework could include a payment of damages for serious invasions of privacy, effectiveness of a data breach notification scheme, effectiveness of enforcement powers and an independent privacy law compliance certification scheme.

“Australians are spending more and more of their time online and more of their personal information is being collected, handled and stored,” Attorney-General Christian Porter said in a statement.

 “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,” he said.

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