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Over 20 advocates and researchers call for urgent privacy reform

Stronger laws will protect people from data breaches and misuse.

Last updated: 25 October 2023

Over 20 advocates and researchers are calling on the government to urgently implement major reforms to the Privacy Act in a joint open letter released today. 

The signatories, which include leading experts on privacy and assistance services working with affected people, support urgent reforms to Australia's outdated privacy legislation to protect people from data breaches and misuse.

"We know all too well the harm that inadequate privacy protections cause. Gambling companies hound at-risk people with targeted advertising, data brokers sell our information without consent, and automated systems discriminate against marginalised people. We've also seen millions of consumers harmed by data breaches when businesses store too much personal information," says CHOICE Senior Campaigns and Policy Advisor, Rafi Alam. 

"In March of this year the Attorney-General's Department released its review into the Privacy Act, and we've been pleased to see the Federal Government has recently announced its support for the majority of their recommendations," says Alam. 

"To ensure the Privacy Act is fit-for-purpose in a rapidly changing digital environment, we are calling on the Federal Government to urgently implement a number of recommendations to protect the safety, security and integrity of our personal information," says Alam. 

The joint open letter calls for urgent action on these recommendations:

  • Modernising the definition of "personal information" so more of our data is protected. 
  • Ensuring businesses only collect and keep the data we want to share by establishing a fair and reasonable use test.
  • Giving regulators the resources and power they need to enforce the law. 
  • Applying the Privacy Act to all businesses, regardless of size. 
  • Introducing clear rules and guardrails for high-risk technologies that significantly impact human rights, such as facial recognition technology.

"We look forward to working with the Federal Government to improve the Privacy Act and ensure Australia's privacy legislation is as strong as it can possibly be," says Alam.

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