Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 408. Updated Tuesday, 06 May 2014

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Call to understand new privacy rules

The Australian Privacy Commissioner has urged members of the community to use this week's Privacy Awareness Week to work out what their privacy rights are now that privacy laws have changed.

The Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim said the changes, which came into place on 12 March, included a new set of Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which set out how private sector organisations and Federal Australian Government Agencies covered by the Privacy Act 1988 must handle people's personal information, as well as changes to the way credit information could be collected, used and disclosed.

Mr Pilgrim said under the new privacy laws, it was easier for people to: ask an organisation from where they collected their personal information (in response to receiving direct marketing); opt out of receiving direct marketing communications from organisations; and find out if their personal information would be sent overseas.

Commissioner opens Privacy Week

He said people would also be able to request access to their personal information held by an organisation or Agency and request a correction to their personal information held by an organisation or Agency.

Mr Pilgrim said the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) had produced Privacy fact sheet 24: How changes to privacy law affect you to assist people understand what the new privacy law changes mean for them.

He said entities covered by the Privacy Act must now have a clearly expressed and up-to-date privacy policy explaining what they were going to do with people's personal information.

"Our research shows that 95 per cent of Australians want to know how their information is handled on a day-to-day basis," Mr Pilgrim said.

"So we are using Privacy Awareness Week to remind people to read privacy policies and notices to find out what will happen to their personal information ."

Mr Pilgrim said there have also been major changes to credit reporting laws, including the introduction of more comprehensive credit reporting and a simplified correction and complaints process.

The Privacy fact sheet 24: How changes to privacy law affect you is available at this PS News link.

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