Changes to privacy laws

Changes to privacy laws

Changes to privacy laws that are due to come into effect on 12 March 2014 mean that companies found to have breached the law could face fines of up to A$1.7 million. The changes also give the Australian Privacy Commissioner much more power.


With less just a month the amendments take effect, organisations risk sleepwalking into non?compliance unless they take action now.


“Early preparation is key to meeting compliance obligations,” says Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim. Pilgrim says a good place to start is with the new Australian Privacy Principle 1 in the Privacy Act 1988.


“It’s all about open and transparent management of personal information. There is an existing requirement in the current Act, but the new principle goes into more detail about how organisations need to be transparent about how they collect, use and disclose information.”


Businesses that manage information in the cloud – process information offshore or store information on overseas servers – are particularly exposed, as the new regulations require organisations to disclose if they will send personal information overseas and to which countries.


“Businesses will need to state whether they transfer information offshore and to whom in their privacy policy,” Pilgrim says.


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