Bringing Australia's Privacy Act Up to International Standards (Submission in Response to the Privacy Act Review - Issues Paper)

44 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2021

See all articles by Graham Greenleaf

Graham Greenleaf

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

Nigel Waters

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

Katherine Lane

Independent

Bruce Arnold

University of Canberra

Roger Clarke

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd; University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law; Australian National University (ANU)

Date Written: December 18, 2020

Abstract

This submission to the Australian federal Attorney-General’s Departmen is by the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF), the country's leading privacy advocacy organisation, and is written by five members of its Board. It is in response to the Attorney-General’s Review of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) – Issues Paper.

The last comprehensive review of the Privacy Act was in 2008 with the publication of the Australian Law Reform Commission Report for Your Information – Australian Privacy Law and Practice (the ALRC Report). The ALRC report recognised privacy as a human right. It also found that privacy protection should take precedence over a range of countervailing interests, such as cost and convenience. However, although the government at the time professed to accept many of the ALRC’s recommendations, and said it would introduce legislation in a number of tranches, it failed to introduce many of the most important reforms, such as removal of exemptions. APF submits that, after this Review, the government should introduce one comprehensive reform Bill, and should not resort to the subterfuge of reform in stages.

Significantly, since 2008, many countries have introduced stronger privacy protections. For example, the European Union (EU) has introduced significant privacy protections in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These laws are regarded as the gold standard in best practice data protection. The GDPR commenced operation in 2016 and was fully implemented across the EU by 2018.

In comparison, Australia’s privacy and data protection laws are weak and do not meet the best practice standards set by the EU and other countries. This review must be used as an opportunity to modernize and strengthen Australia’s privacy laws to meet the best practice standards set Internationally. Australia should even seek to exceed those standards and lead the world.

This submission addresses almost all of the 69 issues raised by the Attorney-General’s Department in the Issues Paper. The submission also addresses many of the submissions made to the Review by Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)... We have noted in this submission particular aspect to which we give support, and others we oppose.

Note: Submission made to Attorney-General's Department (Australia) Privacy Act Review.

Keywords: Australia, Privacy Act, data protection, privacy, OAIC, APF, Australian Privacy Foundation

Suggested Citation

Greenleaf, Graham and Waters, Nigel and Lane, Katherine and Arnold, Bruce and Clarke, Roger, Bringing Australia's Privacy Act Up to International Standards (Submission in Response to the Privacy Act Review - Issues Paper) (December 18, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3752152 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3752152

Graham Greenleaf (Contact Author)

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

Nigel Waters

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

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Katherine Lane

Independent ( email )

Bruce Arnold

University of Canberra ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Roger Clarke

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd ( email )

78 Sidaway St
Chapman, ACT 2611
Australia
+61 2 6288 1472 (Phone)

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

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

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