‘With the introduction of new privacy laws, people’s privacy rights will be enhanced and strengthened in areas such as direct marketing, the disclosure of personal information overseas and requesting access to and correction of personal information held by an organisation,’ Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said.
From 12 March 2014 new privacy laws mean that Australians can more easily:
- ask an organisation where they collected their personal information from (in response to receiving direct marketing)
- opt out of receiving direct marketing communications from organisations
- find out if their personal information will be sent overseas
- request access to their personal information held by an organisation or agency
- request a correction to their personal information held by an organisation or agency
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will focus on public education during the upcoming Privacy Awareness Week campaign (4–10 May 2014), the primary privacy awareness and education event in the Asia Pacific region.
‘Privacy Awareness Week 2014 will be about making sure people understand how to exercise their new and existing rights,’ Mr Pilgrim said.
The OAIC’s recent 2013 Community Attitudes to Privacy survey results show Australians are becoming more concerned about privacy risks. People expect the organisations they deal with to take effective steps to safeguard their personal information. For example, just over 60% of Australians have decided to not deal with an organisation because of privacy concerns, which is an increase from just over 40% in 2007.
At the same time an increasing number (82%) of Australians are aware of federal privacy laws, and 96% of them feel that they should be informed of how their information is handled and protected, and if it is lost.
‘The new laws see a greater responsibility put on businesses and Australian Government agencies to be more transparent about how they handle personal information,’ Mr Pilgrim said.
The new privacy laws will also give the Commissioners new powers to resolve privacy complaints and investigations, including the ability to accept enforceable undertakings from agencies and organisations and, in serious or repeated cases, seek a penalty of up to $1.7 million.
Background notes for Editors
For more information on privacy law reform see: http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-act/privacy-law-reform.
The full report for the OAIC’s 2013 Community Attitudes to Privacy survey results can be accessed here: www.oaic.gov.au/community-attitudes.
Data Privacy Day is an international awareness day (primarily celebrated in the United States, Canada and Europe) to provide education about information privacy. For more information see www.staysafeonline.org/dpd/.
Privacy Awareness Week (4–10 May 2014) is the primary privacy awareness and education event in the Asia Pacific region. For more information see www.privacyawarenessweek.org.
Media contact: Ms Leila Daniels firstname.lastname@example.org