With the increased storage of personal information online, and on the cloud, the Federal Government is reviewing the law regarding privacy. Whilst there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cyber-attacks and hostiles obtaining access to our personal information, this reform program has been in discussion and consultation for many years. In late 2022 the government released a Privacy Act Review Report and Arts Law made submissions to some of the proposals in the report which were due on 31 March 2023.
Our position regarding the submissions were:
- To strengthen the protection of personal information under the Privacy Act by amending the definition of ‘personal information’ and emphasising its importance to the purpose of the Act; and acknowledge the protection of public interest by privacy law.
- To maintain the exemption for small businesses from the compulsory regulatory requirements provided the business only retains limited personal details regarding their clients. However all businesses regardless of size should only obtain and retain data that is essential to their operation of their business and all businesses should be required to notify clients and report notifiable data breaches. We also encourage government consultation with small business to enable them to be better informed about any increased privacy reporting obligations if the amendments go ahead.
- To maintain the right of journalists to have access to personal information provided the media organisation is a signatory to a media code of conduct. This is because we believe if this amendment were introduced, it could impact on the civil right of freedom of speech. We support a standard industry privacy code for media organisations rather than relying on self regulation.
- To oppose the introduction of a statutory tort of serious invasion of privacy.
If you would like to review our submission in more detail, you can download it as a PDF.