Privacy Commissioner issues a press release ahead of Data Privacy Day

January 25, 2013 |

The 28th January 2013 is Data Privacy Day.  In recognition of that, or because it is as good a pretext as any other and better than most the Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner has issued a media release about privacy in 2013. It is found here.

It provides:

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim is advising Australians that 2013 is shaping up to be the biggest year for privacy in over 20 years. In recognition of Data Privacy Day, held on 28 January 2013, Mr Pilgrim is reminding Australians to take steps to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.

‘In the age of big data, social media and cloud computing, it is increasingly important that people think about the concept of privacy and what it means to them. I am concerned that people aren’t considering the potential risks of disclosing too much personal information, particularly when engaging online,’ Mr Pilgrim said.

‘Organisations should also be vigilant about privacy, in particular, the protection of personal information entrusted to them by their customers. With regular reports of data breaches and their impact on individuals as well as on business reputation, the importance of getting privacy right cannot be underestimated.’

2013 will be a significant year for businesses and government agencies as they prepare for major changes to the Privacy Act 1988. The changes include the introduction of a single set of Australia Privacy Principles, new credit reporting laws, and enhanced enforcement powers for the Privacy Commissioner to promote, and where necessary, enforce privacy compliance.

‘The new laws are an important milestone for privacy in Australia. Organisations should be considering what changes they may need to make to their policies, systems and processes,’ Mr Pilgrim said.

To prepare for the  changes that will commence in March 2014, the OAIC recommends that businesses and government agencies should review:

  • privacy policies and information collection notices
  • any outsourcing arrangements that might be in place, particularly if these involve the disclosure of personal information outside Australia
  • direct marketing practices, including the availability of ‘opt out’ mechanisms.

Over the coming months, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will produce detailed guidance to assist businesses and agencies understand the impact of the reforms and make the necessary changes to their personal information handling practices.

‘The OAIC will be conducting targeted and public consultation on some of the guidance we produce. We will be talking to industry bodies and consumer groups, so I encourage anyone with an interest in this area to participate. If businesses and government agenices start preparing now, there should be no reason why they won’t be ready to meet their new responsibilities by March 2014,’ Mr Pilgrim said.

But he was not first out of the barrier with the Victorian Privacy Commissioner on 22 January 2013 issuing a press release, Data Privacy Day, January 28 2013 Respecting Privacy..

It provides:

Data Privacy Day is held on January 28th every year. This international effort to empower people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint serves to remind people that the protection of privacy and data is everyone’s priority. As a Data Privacy Day Champion, Privacy Victoria is reminding people that the privacy of personal information is important and it should be respected.
Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner Dr Anthony Bendall says, “In our online world, data flows freely from person to person, and between people and government and other organisations. Information about people has to travel and be shared electronically for a healthy society and economy, and for healthy relationships between people, governments and business. But this information also needs to be protected so that the people who need to see and use the information are the only ones who see and use it.”
You have privacy responsibilities
“All of us – from home computer users to government organisations and the largest businesses – need to be aware of the personal and private data others have entrusted to us and remain vigilant and proactive about protecting it.”
“Protecting your own privacy is just as important as protecting the privacy of your family and friends, your clients and customers. Your data is just as valuable as your health and your finances. Just as you look after your health and your finances, it is important that you take steps to look after your personal information. Our information booklet on How to safeguard your personal information contains some helpful advice and simple steps that you can take to protect your personal information online and offline,” advises Dr Bendall.
“If you respect your own privacy, you are more likely to safeguard the privacy (and the data) of your family and friends, colleagues, customers and clients. This enables healthy, trusting relationships which balance the free flow of information with protecting the privacy of personal information everywhere,” says Dr Bendall.
Victorian government organisations and local councils
When collecting, using and handling personal information, Victorian government organisations and local councils need to comply with the Victorian Information Privacy Act 2000. This law requires these agencies to collect and handle personal information in accordance with ten enforceable privacy principles. Some private sector organisations contracting with government to provide public services (i.e. contracted service providers) are also covered.
Need more information?
Privacy Victoria’s website contains a range of information for these organisations as well as the community more generally. A community information brochure is available to help you understand your privacy rights.
Private sector
Personal information is the lifeblood of many businesses. This is because a large number of business transactions rely on the use of customers’ personal information. When a business collects and uses personal information, it should protect and respect its customers’ privacy. Respecting privacy helps develop customer trust – ‘good privacy is good business’.
A business may also have to comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth). The Privacy Act sets out rules about information handling, including how businesses may collect, use, store and disclose personal information. ..
Health information
Health information in Victoria is covered by the Victorian Health Records Act 2001.
Got a privacy problem?
Members of the public or organisations (whether subject to the Act or not) can seek information or guidance from Privacy Victoria about whether their issue relates to privacy under the Victorian Information Privacy Act. If it does not, Privacy Victoria staff will endeavour to refer the enquirer to a range of other organisations or bodies which may be relevant

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