Welcome to Privacy Awareness Week

A message from the Commissioner

Portrait photo of Timothy Pilgrim

This year's Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) theme, Privacy in your hands, reinforces the message that organisations, agencies and individuals must be vigilant in maintaining a good understanding of their rights and responsibilities for the handling of personal information.

While the regulation of privacy will continue to evolve, particularly as technology advances, businesses, agencies and individuals must also step up to the challenge of taking control of privacy management.

For organisations and agencies, that means incorporating privacy into strategic planning, making privacy a governance priority, and taking a ‘privacy by design’ approach to integrate privacy management into all projects, products and practices.

For individuals, it means making smart privacy choices by understanding your rights, and also the consequences of choices you make to share personal information. We can exchange our personal information for better services and connections, but we need to make informed decisions that weigh up the pros and cons of the exchange.

For all of us, taking charge of our personal information also means using the knowledge, skills, guidance, and assistance that is available from organisations such as the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). We can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act), our Enquiries line is available to answer your questions, and our website has a range of resources to help you with what you need to know.

Our privacy is valuable and worth protecting. It is a vital part of who we are, and the Privacy Act recognises this by providing rights and protections for our personal information.

So whether you are a business, government agency, family or individual, take a moment during Privacy Awareness Week to look at our website, or ask us questions, to ensure you’re best equipped to manage your privacy well.

Timothy Pilgrim
Acting Australian Information Commissioner

Professor Joe Cannataci

United Nations Special Rapporteur for Privacy

Portrait photo of Joe Cannataci

Professor Cannataci was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy in July 2015. He is the Head of the Department of Information Policy & Governance at the Faculty of Media & Knowledge Sciences of the University of Malta. He also holds the Chair of European Information Policy & Technology Law within the Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen where he co-founded the STeP Research Group.

An Adjunct Professor at the Security Research Institute and the School of Computer and Security Science at Edith Cowan University Australia a considerable deal of Joe’s time is dedicated to collaborative research. He was overall co-ordinator for the SMART and RESPECT projects dealing with surveillance and currently also co-ordinates MAPPING dealing with Internet Governance www.mappingtheinternet.eu.

A UK Chartered Information Technology Professional & Fellow of the British Computer Society, he also continues to act as Expert Consultant to a number of international organisations.

He has written books and articles on data protection law, liability for expert systems, legal aspects of medical informatics, copyright in computer software and co-authored various papers and textbook chapters on self-regulation and the Internet, the EU Constitution and data protection, on-line dispute resolution, data retention and police data. His latest book “The Individual & Privacy” is published by Ashgate (March 2015).

Interested in hearing Professor Cannataci? Register for the PAW business breakfast today.


What's happening

  • Media release: UN privacy rapporteur to join Australian PAW 2016

    Acting Australian Information Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, announced today that this year’s Privacy Awareness Week will take on an international perspective, with the first visit to Australia by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Privacy, Professor Joseph (Joe) Cannataci.

    Read more

  • PAW website

    For the first time, our PAW campaign has a dedicated campaign site.

    This site will hold all the dates, information and resources you need for the week, including training resources, videos, and partner logos.

    Stay tuned!

  • Media release: OAIC launches Privacy Awareness Week (15–21 May)

    ‘The theme for Privacy Awareness Week 2016 is privacy in your hands,’ said Acting Australian Information Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim.

    ‘For businesses and government agencies this means that privacy is part of good governance and made a key priority. For individuals, it means understanding your rights, making choices and taking charge of your privacy in the digital age.’

    Read more

  • OAIC launches 10 privacy tips for parents and carers

    The Australian Privacy Commissioner is asking parents and carers to prioritise their children’s privacy this Privacy Awareness Week (15 to 21 May 2016).

    ‘In the information age, your children’s personal information is one of their most valuable assets,’ said Mr Timothy Pilgrim, Australian Privacy Commissioner.

    ‘While online environments allow young Australians the opportunity to express themselves and build their identity, sharing personal information online is not without risks.’

    Read more


Check out these four categories to see what's available.

Think you protect your privacy?

Privacy tips for young people

PDF (4.68 MB)

Privacy Awareness Week 2016 Business Breakfast

Security tips — Facebook PAW 2016

Setting up new accounts — Facebook PAW 2016

To tag or not to tag, that is the question... — Facebook PAW 2016

Posting: The quick mental checklist — Facebook PAW 2016

OAIC privacy governance priorities for 2016 — Ashurst Business Breakfast

A message from the Commissioner — to all Australians

A message from the Commissioner — to Australian businesses and agencies

A message from the Commissioner — to Australian parents and carers

What is privacy?

How do I make a privacy complaint?

How do I access my personal information?

How to make a privacy complaint (Auslan)

“Privacy is not secrecy. It is about giving individuals control over how their personal information is handled; creating customer confidence and trust. As such, good privacy practices and great innovation directly support each other.”
“Far from being irrelevant in the online age — the very nature of technological developments that facilitate communication, storage, use, aggregation, and engagement mean that privacy is now embedded in, and fundamental to, everything that we do.”


What's on 15-21 May

  • PAW business breakfast

    When: 7.30am, Monday 16 May
    Where: Westin Hotel, Sydney, NSW
    Cost: $150 / $75 concession
    Book a table for up to eight people and get a 10% discount

    Come and hear the Acting Australian Information Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Professor Joseph Cannataci, speaking at the OAIC’s annual business breakfast.


  • ANU public lecture

    When: 6pm, Tuesday 17 May
    Where: Finkel Theatre
    131 John Curtin School of Medical Research Stage 1
    Garran Road
    Australian National University, ACT
    Cost: Free

    Professor Joseph Cannataci will be presenting a public lecture at the Australian National University in Canberra.


  • PwC breakfast: Take Control of Data Breach Handling

    When: 8am, Wednesday 18 May
    Where: PwC Office, Level 10, 201 Sussex St, Sydney
    Cost: N/A

    Please note this event has reached capacity.

    Assistant Commissioner, Karen Toohey will chair a panel of experts to discuss how to take control of data breach handling and protect your organisation's reputation.

  • Ernst & Young Business Breakfast

    When: 7.30am, Thursday 19 May
    Where: Ernst & Young, Melbourne

    Please contact Charlie Offer (Charlie.Offer@au.ey.com) for details

    Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim will explore the issue of personal data and commercial integrity — discussing how good privacy governance supports open data initiatives. This is a great opportunity to hear the latest thinking on integrating strong privacy governance in the open data age.

  • Ashurst Business Breakfast

    When: 7.30am, Thursday 19 May
    Where: Ashurst, Sydney

    Event fully subscribed

    Assistant Commissioner, Angelene Falk will outline issues and challenges for the year ahead, and exploring new thinking on big data and deidentification, current debates around the definition of personal information, and the future of data breach notification.

Partners 2016