Australian Government appoints Information and Privacy Commissioner

August 19, 2018 |

The work of the Information and Privacy Commissioner continues to not go on.  But the Government has appointed a permanent successor to the previous Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim.  The Interim Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk, has been appointed to those roles for 3 years.

The announcement on Friday by the Attorney General was:

Ms Angelene Falk has been appointed Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner for a three year term effective from yesterday, 16 August 2018.

Ms Falk has held senior positions in the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) since 2012. These include Deputy Commissioner since 2016 and Acting Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner since March 2018, leading the OAIC in fulfilling the office’s functions across privacy, freedom of information and government information management.

Ms Falk has extensive experience delivering the functions of independent regulators and a track record of working across Commonwealth and State agencies, business and the community in law, policy and education.

The Commissioner role is critical to helping ensure the privacy of Australians, particularly in the online environment and I am confident Ms Falk is the appropriate candidate to meet this challenge.

Ms Falk has been at the forefront of addressing regulatory challenges and potential uses of data in a global environment and also worked to promote public access to information held by government.

Ms Falk played a key role across business, community and government agencies on the implementation of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme under the Privacy Act 1988, which commenced in February 2018.

In 2014 Ms Falk oversaw the OAIC’s significant work and stakeholder engagement on the implementation of the reforms to the Privacy Act that commenced that year.

I congratulate Ms Falk on her appointment and I look forward to the contribution she will make to the OAIC.

The Information Commissioner’s office has moved with rare alacrity in welcoming the Attorney General’s announcement.

What this means for regulation of the Privacy Act 1988 is hard to say.  But the likely answer is not much.  The appointment comes from within the Information Commissioner’s Office.  The culture, based on its response to data breaches and determinations, is timid and ineffective. While Timothy Pilgrim was probably the most active Commissioner that is not saying a tremendous amount.  The Commissioner’s office was slow and its enforcement was weak.







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