The data breach that affected 9.8 million Australians and resulted in the personal information of 10,000 Optus customers being exposed on the dark web in September last year will be litigated in a class action lawsuit filed last Friday (21 April) in the Federal Court of Australia.Read More
Presumably inspired by the recently released “Honor Among Thieves”, a film based on table-top roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons, the Australian government invited representatives from the Reserve Bank, the AFP and regulators ASIC and APRA for a three-hour session of cybersecurity roleplay. Further exercises are expected to be conducted with major banks and financial services, and eventually with the aviation sector and other critical infrastructure areas.Read More
Proceedings led by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) against Facebook, Inc. (Facebook) for their role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal will finally proceed in the Federal Court of Australia.Read More
Shortly after the Government announced their ambition to make Australia a global leader in cyber security, Australia has been named the country with “the greatest progress and commitment toward creating a cyber defence environment” in MIT’s Cyber Defence Index of 2022/23.
However, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s latest notifiable data breaches report paints a different picture. The Commissioner reported a 26% increase in the number of total reported data breaches and a 41% increase in the number of reported data breaches arising from malicious or criminal attacks compared with the first half of 2022. Health service providers and the finance sector were the worst hit, together representing almost a third of reported data breaches.
In releasing the report, the Commissioner once again stressed the need for organisations to collect only the minimum amount of personal information required and deleting it when it is no longer needed. In the report the Commissioner has recommended a number of steps to address the kinds of issues featured in the second half of 2022, including:Read More
By Amigo L. Xie
2023 is destined to be a big year for the hottest issues of the China Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) for MNCs doing business in or with China especially in the areas of: cross-border personal data transfers, localization, compliance, and enforcement.
It is worth noting the following milestones in your timeline for China data privacy compliance in 2023:Read More
Not content with merely implementing broad-scale privacy reform, the Government has announced a new position, the Coordinator for Cyber Security to be added to the Department of Home Affairs as a step towards their aim of “making Australia the most cyber secure nation by 2030“. This would seem to be a rather aspirational target!
The Coordinator will be supported by a National Office for Cyber Security, and their role will be to oversee steps to prevent future cyber security incidents and to help manage cyber incidents as they occur.Read More
Currently, most small businesses (with some exceptions) are not covered by the Privacy Act – with the threshold shaping a small business being an annual turnover of $3 million or less. However the Attorney General’s Department recognises that Australians want their privacy protected and that small businesses shouldn’t be excepted from this.
In the long term, proposal 6.1 seeks to remove the small business exemption but only after:
- an impact analysis has been undertaken
- appropriate support is developed
- in consultation with small businesses, the most appropriate way for small business to meet their obligations is determined (propionate to the risk) – e.g. through a code, and
- small businesses are in a position to comply with these obligations.
Proposal 6.2, in the shorter term, seeks to ensure that small businesses comply with the Privacy Act in relation to the collection of biometric information and remove the exemption from the Privacy Act for small businesses that obtain consent to trade in personal information (trading in personal information will mean the Privacy Act applies).Read More
The section of the Report dealing with the employee records exemption highlighted significant debate and difference of opinion. Employers expressed a strong desire to retain or even strengthen the exemption; employee representatives consider reform is needed.
In that context the Report does not conclude how the changes should take effect, but proposals 7.1(a)-7.1(d) recommend stronger protection of private sector employee information, to:
- enhance transparency over what employee information is collected and why
- ensure employers have adequate flexibility to deal with employees’ information to administer the employment relationship (and addressing whether consent should be required to collect sensitive information)
- ensure adequate security and destruction measures around employee personal information, and
- notify employees and the OAIC of data breaches involving employee personal information.
What does this mean for my organisation?
Private sector employers who don’t yet have a good grasp of the breadth of information they collect and hold about their employees will need to stocktake their collection activities and sharpen their focus on why they collect such information; prepare appropriate collection notices and employee privacy policies (if not used already); and ensure employee information is appropriately covered in their security measures and considered in their data breach response plans.Read More
Under proposals 4.1-4.4 of the Report, changes to broaden the definition of Personal Information are on the horizon. Under the proposed amendments, the word “about” in the definition of Personal Information will be amended to “relates to”. That is – “information or an opinion that relates to an identified individual…”. This brings the definition in line with other legislative frameworks that regulate privacy and ensures consistency with the language used in the GDPR definition of ‘Personal Data’.
Amendment of the definition of ‘collection’ is also proposed to expressly cover information obtained by any means, including inferred or generated information. The Report also states that ‘reasonably identifiable’ should be supported by a non-exhaustive list of circumstances to which APP entities will be expected to have regard to in their assessment of what is ‘Personal Information’.
What does this mean for my organisation?
With such a broader interpretation, APP entities will need to have regard to a larger set of information that could fall within the definition. This will see information such as mobile location data, IP addresses, social media handles, mobile advertising IDs and other technical information more clearly fall within the definition.Read More
The Government has today released the Report of the Attorney General’s Department’s review of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). The Government is seeking feedback on the 116 proposals in the Report before deciding what further steps to take. Submissions on the report are due on 31 March 2023. With this timing, it’s possible that we will see the review finalised towards the end of the first half of 2023.
The report can be accessed here.
The proposals made in the Report centre around:Read More