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Are You Ready? – Privacy Law Reform


2013 is a big year for privacy law reform in Australia. Hunt & Hunt Lawyers is ready to assist clients in their respon se to reforms. The significant changes to privacy laws commence on 12 March 2014, as a result of the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012.

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This week is Privacy Awareness Week, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum which is held every year to promote awareness of privacy issues and the importance of the protection of personal information. Fittingly, this year, the focus of Privacy Awareness Week is privacy law reform.

It is an opportune time for us to launch our 'Are You Ready?' series of legal updates to assist you in understanding the changes to be introduced by the reforms to privacy laws. Throughout the year, we will keep you updated with developments on major reforms with a focus on the changes that will affect businesses.

The reforms will affect organisations that are currently subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Generally, these are businesses with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, health service providers or businesses which trade in personal information.

The key changes include:

  • creation of the Australian Privacy Principles
  • introduction of comprehensive credit reporting
  • introduction of new provisions on privacy codes and the credit reporting code
  • enhanced powers of the Information Commissioner.

We will look at the impact of these changes in more detail in future editions of 'Are You Ready?' In the meantime, businesses should start preparing for the reforms by reviewing:

  • privacy policies and information collection notices
  • any outsourcing arrangements that might be in place, particularly if these involve the disclosure of personal information outside Australia
  • direct marketing practices, including the availability of 'opt out' mechanisms.

Further information can be found on the website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner here. Alternatively, you can contact your local Hunt & Hunt office if you require assistance in ensuring you comply with the new privacy reforms.

CONTACT

Mark Byers (North Ryde) +61 2 9804 5777 mbyers@hunthunt.com.au
David Thompson, Melbourne +61 3 8602 9252 dthompson@hunthunt.com.au
Brenton James, Adelaide +61 8 8414 3347 bjames@hunthunt.com.au

 

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