Privacy Act –The 2014 Reforms

On 12 March 2014,the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth) will come into effect. This will amend the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) by introducing:

  • a new definition of Personal Information;
  • the Australian Privacy Principles (APP);
  • a more comprehensive credit reporting system and new powers for the Privacy Commissioner; and
  • new penalties.

New Definition

The new definition of Personal Information is ‘information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable whether the information or opinion is:

  • true or not; and
  • recorded in a material form or not.

Australian Privacy Principles

The new APPs will apply to both private and public sector organisations. There are thirteen (13) APPs and they set out standards, rights and obligations in relation to the handling and maintenance of information by APP entities; Privacy Commissioners dealing with privacy policies and the collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal information.

The Credit Reporting Regime

The reform introduces a completely redrafted credit reporting regime. Credit reporting bodies can now collect ‘positive’ data about individuals, namely the:

  • date a credit account was opened or closed;
  • types of credit account opened;
  • current limit of each open credit account; and
  • repayment history information.

Commissioners New Powers

The privacy commissioner has been empowered with enhanced powers aimed to improve the Commissioners ability to:

  • resolve complaints;
  • conduct investigations; and
  • promote Privacy Act compliance.

New Penalties

The Privacy Commissioner will be able to apply to the Court for a civil penalty order. Penalties range from:

  • $2,200 to $220,000 –for an individual; and
  • $110,000 to $1.1 million –for a company.

Mr Murdock of our office holds a Juris Doctor in International Trade Law and a Masters of Laws in International Business Transactions from The Netherlands. If you are looking for an international lawyer to represent you in drafting international contracts or representation in arbitrations, feel free to contact us for a free consultation on (02) 9262 5495 or (03) 8899 7870; visit our WebsiteLike our Facebook Page; or join our Employment Law Mailing List.

This article is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All articles found on this website are intended to provide informative information, nevertheless, in many instances legislation and case law has been simplified and/or paraphrased. If you would like personal legal advice based on your current circumstances, you should contact MurdockCheng Legal Practice for a free consultation.