In December 2020, ACCAN submitted to the Australian Attorney General’s Department Issues Paper consultation on the review of the Privacy Act 1988. Our submission aimed to ensure privacy settings empower consumers and protect their data, and we worked closely with privacy advocates in developing our response. The review is part of the Australian Government's response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Digital Platforms Inquiry.

ACCAN’s recommendations included:

  • Expansion of the definition of ‘personal information’ to capture all forms of personal information that organisations collect from consumers online;
  • Shifting the responsibility for consumer data protection away from consumers and onto organisations;
  • Introduction of a ‘right to erasure’ or ‘right to be forgotten’ provision in the Privacy Act;
  • Enforcement of stronger penalties for breaches of privacy by the ACCC and OAIC;
  • Introduction of a direct right of action and statutory tort for breaches of privacy;
  • Simplification of privacy notifications to enable consumers to genuinely understand and accept privacy notices with regard to data collection;

Our submission also advocated for the removal of various exemptions from privacy protection obligations in the Act, reforms in relation to connected ‘Internet of Things’ devices, and greater privacy protection for children. We also acknowledged the need for a co-ordinated review of the privacy measures in the Telecommunications Act and Privacy Act to ensure optimal privacy protection for consumers.

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