Tag: Privacy Act

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Long awaited increase to privacy breach penalties – a step closer to reality
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Less than two weeks to go: New Zealand Privacy Act commences 1 December 2020
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Australian Privacy Act Under Review
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Cyber Criminals “King of the (Data Breach) Jungle”: 61% of all Data Breaches caused by Malicious or Criminal Attacks, according to OAIC Report
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Uniformity of Law II: NSW Government pledges to introduce Mandatory Data Breach Reporting in respect to State Government Agencies
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Uniformity of Law: NSW Government opens consultation to consider making Data Breach Reporting mandatory in respect of State Government Agencies
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OAIC’s controversial decision broadens scope for the disclosure of personal information
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Another Facebook app leaves anonymised data of 3 million users potentially exposed
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Family Planning NSW the latest victim of cyber attacks
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Over half of notifiable data breaches caused by human error

Long awaited increase to privacy breach penalties – a step closer to reality

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham, Max Evans and Ella Richards

On October 25 the Australian Attorney-General’s Department released a draft bill amending the Privacy Act 1988 (the Draft Bill), inviting industry submissions by 6 December 2021.

We have been hearing about an alignment with Australian consumer and competition law penalties for quite some time – and the Draft Bill does not disappoint.

Under the Draft Bill, the maximum penalties applicable to companies for serious or repeated privacy breaches will increase to the greater of:

  • $10 million
  • three times the value of any benefit obtained through the misuse of information, or
  • 10% of the corporate group’s annual Australian turnover.

The Draft Bill also enables the introduction of an online privacy code, covering a wide scope of organisations to regulate social media services, large online platforms and data brokerage services. It is expected that industry will be given the first opportunity to develop the code, for approval by the Commissioner – with the ability for the Commissioner to develop the code in certain circumstances.

Finally, the Draft Bill introduces information sharing powers to facilitate greater engagement between the Information Commissioner and law enforcement bodies, alternative complaint bodies and State, Territory or foreign privacy regulators. This means the Information Commissioner or the receiving authority will be able to share information and documents to more effectively exercise their respective functions and powers.

With regulators banding together, maximum penalties becoming meaningful and a binding online privacy code on the horizon – there has never been a better time to get your Privacy house in order!

Less than two weeks to go: New Zealand Privacy Act commences 1 December 2020

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

On 1 December 2020, the New Zealand Privacy Act 2020 will come into operation and repeal and replace the Privacy Act 1993.

The Privacy Act 2020 modernises New Zealand’s privacy laws and seeks to keep pace with international standards and technology. While New Zealand’s new privacy legislation is not as onerous as other international privacy laws, such as the GDPR, it still introduces significant changes including:

  • mandatory data breach notification;
  • new investigative and regulatory powers for the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner; and
  • new criminal offences and penalties, including fines of up to $10,000.
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Australian Privacy Act Under Review

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham and Keely O’Dowd

In December 2019, the Australian Government announced it would conduct a review of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

A year has almost passed and finally the Australian Government has publicly released details about the review. On 30 October 2020, the Australian Government released the Terms of Reference of the review. In particular, the review will cover:

  • The scope and application of the Privacy Act
  • Whether the Privacy Act effectively protects personal information and provides a practical and proportionate framework for promoting good privacy practices
  • Whether individuals should have direct rights of action to enforce privacy obligations under the Privacy Act
  • Whether a statutory tort for serious invasions of privacy should be introduced into Australian law
  • The impact of the notifiable data breach scheme and its effectiveness in meeting its objectives
  • The effectiveness of enforcement powers and mechanisms under the Privacy Act and how they interact with other Commonwealth regulatory frameworks
  • The desirability and feasibility of an independent certification scheme to monitor and demonstrate compliance with Australian privacy laws.
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Cyber Criminals “King of the (Data Breach) Jungle”: 61% of all Data Breaches caused by Malicious or Criminal Attacks, according to OAIC Report

By Cameron Abbott, Keely O’Dowd and Max Evans

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has released its report on notifications received under the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme for period January to June 2020.

The OAIC reported 518 breaches were notified to it in the relevant period. The OAIC noted a 3% decrease from the 532 breaches notified in the period July 2019 to December 2019. However, there was a 16% increase on the 447 notifications received during January to June 2019.

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Uniformity of Law II: NSW Government pledges to introduce Mandatory Data Breach Reporting in respect to State Government Agencies

Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen and Max Evans

Following on from the consultation opened by the NSW Government in July 2019 (the subject of a previous blog), NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has committed to introducing a mandatory data breach scheme, according to an article by ITNews.

At present, neither NSW privacy laws nor the notifiable data breach scheme under Part IIIC of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) require public sector agencies in NSW to notify the NSW Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals where a data breach creates a risk of serious harm. This led to a consultation conducted by the Department of Communities and Justice in late 2019, which revealed “overwhelming public support” for the introduction of a mandatory data breach scheme in NSW, with the NSW Government “sharing a view” that the relevant scheme should be introduced.

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Uniformity of Law: NSW Government opens consultation to consider making Data Breach Reporting mandatory in respect of State Government Agencies

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Anderson and Max Evans

We have blogged numerous times on the notifiable data breach scheme provided for in Part IIIC of Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) including more recently in relation to its success in assisting the preparedness of the health sector to report and respond to data breaches.

Whilst the NSW Information Privacy Commissioner recommends that public sector agencies notify it and affected individuals where a data breach creates a risk of serious harm, neither NSW privacy laws nor the notifiable data breach scheme require public sector agencies in NSW to provide such notification. There are many reasons for state government agencies to mandatorily report data breaches. Informing citizens when privacy breaches occur provides an opportunity for individual protection against potentially adverse consequences, whilst mandatory data breach reporting would address the current under-reporting of data breaches in NSW, which according to the consultation may be the norm.

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OAIC’s controversial decision broadens scope for the disclosure of personal information

By Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Georgia Mills

In 2017 Andie Fox, a recipient of Centrelink benefits, wrote a highly critical opinion piece on Centrelink’s debt recovery system, alleging that she was being pursued for a non-existent debt.  In response Centrelink provided Ms Fox’s personal information, previous communications and claims history to a journalist who published an article claiming that Centrelink had been ‘unfairly castigated’ by Fox.  The OAIC commenced an investigation into the release and has controversially confirmed Centrelink’s disclosure as permitted under the Privacy Act.

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Another Facebook app leaves anonymised data of 3 million users potentially exposed

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

Recent news reports have revealed that Facebook has been hit with another data scandal.

The anonymised data of approximately 3 million Facebook users has reportedly been published on a poorly protected website. This data was originally collected via a Facebook quiz app called “myPersonality”. The myPersonality app was developed as part of the “myPersonality project” run by academics at the University of Cambridge’s The Psychometrics Centre.

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Family Planning NSW the latest victim of cyber attacks

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

Up to 8000 clients of Family Planning New South Wales have been affected by a ransomware attack on the NGO’s website. No the sort of records people every want to see disclosed.

The website was hacked on ANZAC Day, with the personal information of clients who had contacted FPNSW  in the past 2 and a half years compromised – including details such as names, contact details and reasons for enquiries.

 

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Over half of notifiable data breaches caused by human error

By Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Keely O’Dowd

Following on from Friday’s blog, we have looked at a particular aspect of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme quarterly report in more detail.

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