An issues paper, Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era has been published by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) before it begins an inquiry into the subject.
The Terms of Reference for the inquiry ask the ALRC to consider the detailed legal design of a statutory cause of action and in addition, other innovative ways the law might prevent or redress serious invasions of privacy.
Digital dangers highlighted
ALRC Commissioner for the inquiry, Barbara McDonald said that although there had been significant privacy reform in recent years, there were still gaps in the legal protection of privacy.
“The digital era has created further challenges for the law as, every day, we learn about new technologies for the tracking or surveillance of others and about new ways in which organisations and individuals may use and communicate all sorts of private information online,” Professor McDonald said.
“The task of designing a civil action to allow people to sue for serious invasion of privacy requires a careful balancing of legitimate interests in privacy with other matters of public interest including freedom of speech and expression, media freedom to inform and investigate, the effective delivery of services including healthcare, and the promotion of a vibrant and prosperous national economy.”
She said key considerations for the ALRC included ensuring that any new protection would be compatible with existing privacy laws and regulation and that any proposed legislation was adaptable to future technological changes, but not so vague as to cause uncertainty.
People can make submissions on the issues paper until 11 November.
For more information about the ALRC inquiry go to this PS News link.
To view or download the issues paper go to this PS News link.