Closing the Privacy-Free Zones: An Analysis of ALRC Proposals Concerning Privacy Act Exemptions
20 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2009
Date Written: May 8, 2008
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
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