Closing the Privacy-Free Zones: An Analysis of ALRC Proposals Concerning Privacy Act Exemptions

20 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2009

See all articles by Nigel Waters

Nigel Waters

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Graham Greenleaf

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

Lee A. Bygrave

University of Oslo

Date Written: May 8, 2008

Abstract

This submission responds to Part E of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Discussion Paper 72 Review of Australian Privacy Law, September 2007, which deals with exemptions from the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). The ALRC has proposed a separate part in the Act which would contain all the separate exemptions from the law.

The submission restates the view that many of the current exemptions from the Privacy Act unnecessarily create ‘privacy-free zones’ where an organisation, or a class of organisations, are given a complete exemption from all Information Privacy Principles and National Privacy Principles, when all that is justifiable is an exemption from, or more likely a modification of, some IPPs/NPPs. The submission welcomes the ALRC’s comprehensive review of the justification, or lack of justification, for all the current exemptions. The submission supports the proposed removal of the small business, employee records and political exemptions. The intended tightening up of the media exemption is also welcomed, although the means by which this is proposed are questioned. The proposals for application of the Act to more government agencies, and for a requirement for privacy guidelines for those agencies which need to remain exempt, are also supported, with suggestions for additional refinements.

Keywords: Consumer Protection Law, Law and Technology

Suggested Citation

Waters, Nigel and Greenleaf, Graham and Bygrave, Lee A., Closing the Privacy-Free Zones: An Analysis of ALRC Proposals Concerning Privacy Act Exemptions (May 8, 2008). UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2008-31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1392597

Nigel Waters

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Graham Greenleaf

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law ( email )

Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 2233 (Phone)
+61 2 9385 1175 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.austlii.edu.au/~graham

Lee A. Bygrave (Contact Author)

University of Oslo ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavs plass
Oslo, N-0317
Norway

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