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Privacy — a year round commitment

Privacy Awareness Week 2013 ends tomorrow. However, Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim is reminding business and government agencies to focus on privacy all year.

‘While Privacy Awareness Week is over for another year, business and government agencies need to make a year round commitment to privacy and ensure it remains an important consideration in their “business as usual” activities as well as new projects that involve personal information. Building privacy in from the beginning is the best insurance against a data breach,’ Mr Pilgrim said.

‘It has been great to see such a strong interest and commitment to privacy this week. There have been lots of interest and questions about how the new privacy laws, that commence in March 2014, will affect business processes. However, having talked to many business leaders this week, I am confident that they are seeing the importance of preparing their organisations for the reforms,’ Mr Pilgrim said.

The week started with a business event focusing on information security requirements under the Privacy Act 1988. The federal Attorney-General launched the OAIC’s new Guide to information security: ‘reasonable steps’ to protect personal information. To end the Week, the OAIC has released two compliance checklists to assist businesses and government agencies prepare for the new laws.

Over 150 large businesses and government agencies signed up as Privacy Awareness Week partners this year and took the opportunity to share privacy awareness messages with their stakeholders and staff.

‘The week would not have been as successful without the assistance and commitment of our partners. It’s impressive to see the large range of industry sectors represented. It certainly shows the increasing importance that Australian organisations and government agencies are placing on privacy,’ Mr Pilgrim said.

Businesses and government agencies are not the only focus of the week. Members of the public have also been encouraged to familiarise themselves with their privacy rights under the new laws.

‘I want people to feel confident about exercising their privacy rights. The privacy reforms are going to help with this. For example, from next year organisations will need to have a privacy policy that tells people more about how they handle personal information. People will also be able to ask an organisation not to receive direct marketing and to tell you where they got your details from. This is a significant change and will give the community a greater understanding about how their personal information is being used,’ Mr Pilgrim said.

For interview requests:     Ms Leila Daniels     0407 663 968     media@oaic.gov.au


Notes for editors

Privacy Awareness Week (28 April–4 May 2013) is the primary privacy awareness and education event in the Asia Pacific region. For more information see www.privacyawarenessweek.org.

10 privacy tips for individuals

  • Know your privacy rights
  • Read privacy policies and noticies to find out how your personal information will be used
  • Only give out as much personal information as you need to
  • Ask for access to your personal information
  • Make sure the information an organisation or agency holds about you is accurate and up to date
  • Take steps to protect your online privacy
  • Make sure your hard copy records are properly destroyed
  • You can ‘opt out' if you do not want to have further contact with the organisation
  • If you are not happy you can make a complaint.

For more information, see the OAIC’s 10 steps to protect your personal information to assist individuals understand their privacy rights.

Infographic on technology and privacy

This year the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) have teamed up to talk about why privacy matters in today’s digital world, creating an infographic that shows how evolving technologies create new privacy risks and how citizens and regulators are taking action to protect privacy. The infographic is available to view and share on the APPA Privacy Awareness Week website www.privacyawarenessweek.org as well as the OAIC website.