Privacy laws to
The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim has welcomed upcoming changes to privacy legislation saying they would further protect peoples’ personal information.
“The reforms mean that the same privacy principles will apply to Australian Government Agencies and the private sector,” Mr Pilgrim said.
“A single set of privacy principles, the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), should mean that it will be easier to comply with privacy laws, and for individuals to know what laws protect the privacy of their personal information,” Mr Pilgrim said.
He said the reforms also introduced a number of changes to how personal information was handled, including when it could be used for direct marketing and sent overseas.
Mr Pilgrim said the laws also strengthened the powers of the Commissioner.
“From the commencement of the new laws, I will be able to accept enforceable undertakings, seek civil penalties in the case of serious breaches of privacy, and conduct assessments of privacy performance for both Australian Government Agencies and private sector organisations,” he said.
“While I will continue to work with Agencies and businesses to help them comply with privacy laws, I will not shy away from using these powers in appropriate cases.”
Mr Pilgrim said that while the new Privacy Act would not begin for another 15 months, he urged Australian Government Agencies and businesses to start preparing now.
“Changes to credit reporting laws mean that some organisations will be able to collect more information about people’s credit worthiness,” he said.
“This includes information about whether a person has made or missed a payment on a credit card or loan.
“If a person misses making a payment from as early as this month, it will be able to be recorded on their credit record and may affect their ability to access credit in the future,” Mr Pilgrim said.
He said that people would not only need to be vigilant about paying their bills on time, they should also make sure that the information held by these organisations was correct.
Edition 342, 4 December 2012