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Public Administration News  
Australian Government Tightens Consumer Privacy Laws
Source: http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/2012/dec/13/aust-gov-tightens-consumer-privacy-laws/
Source Date: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Australia
Created: Dec 17, 2012

Amendment to the commonwealth’s Privacy Act will streamline the way consumer data is handled – while requiring agencies and businesses to comply with "Australian Privacy Principles."

This amendment, passed in Parliament, supports the use of standardised information management principles when handling personal consumer data.

These principles are applicable for federal agencies, and businesses operating under commonwealth laws.

Changes to existing privacy law, to be operational from March 2014, streamline the way personal information is handled.

This data incorporates health, credit reporting, and on-line payment repositories.

The Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, gains additional powers to resolve complaints, carry out investigations and seek remedies where needed.

Federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, says this reform brings Australia into the "digital age," and is underscored by significant changes to Australia’s Privacy Act (1988).

"In the digital age, as Australians connect with each other through social media, purchase footy (football) tickets or pay bills on-line, it is vital that we protect consumers’ personal information."

In future, consumers have more leverage to opt out of direct marketing activities. They also gain rights to correct credit reporting histories. The sharing of personal information by corporations in off-shore arrangements is under scrutiny.

Current changes offer higher levels of protection for peoples’ sensitive information. This information incorporates health records, DNA and biometrics data that is used by customs, law-enforcement agencies, and personnel managing ports of entry.

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