Know your privacy rights

On 12 March 2014, Australian privacy laws will change.

The changes mean that private-sector organisations and Australian Government agencies covered by the laws will need to be more transparent about how they handle your personal information. This will help you make more informed choices about how you want your personal information handled, and also help you decide whether you want to deal with the entity. You will be able to read an entity’s privacy policy and find out how your personal information will be handled, whether it is likely to be sent overseas and how to complain about a possible privacy breach.

The way in which your personal information can be used for direct marketing will also change. For the first time, you will have the right to ask a private-sector organisation to tell you where they got your personal information.  A private-sector organisation will also have to give you an easy way to opt-out of receiving direct marketing communications.

There are also changes to the credit reporting system. Five new kinds of credit-related personal information, including the repayment history on your home or car loan and your credit card, will be able to be collected by credit reporting bodies and passed onto lenders. It is also important to remember that you can request a copy of your credit report from a credit reporting body for free in most circumstances.

The new privacy laws will also give the Commissioner new powers to resolve privacy complaints and investigations, including the ability to impose a penalty of up to $1.7 million. 

For more information about the changes to privacy laws visit our Privacy law reform page.

 

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