Search This Blog

Thursday, July 27, 2006

UK proposes jail for privacy infringements

The UK Department of Constitutional Affairs has issued a discussion paper “Increasing penalties for deliberate and wilful misuse of personal data”. The paper proposes an increase in penalties for those who seek to profit from illegal trade in personal information or who otherwise wilfully or recklessly disclose information held by public or private organisations.

The maximum penalty would be 2 years imprisonment with the existing unlimited power to impose fines.

The paper has as an underlying theme the importance of sharing personal data within government in order to improve services while at the same time deterring and punishing those who deliberately or recklessly misuse information.
The UK paper says that since 2002 the Information Commissioner has prosecuted 26 cases under the existing law.

Australia’s privacy laws are light on penalties although the NSW Privacy and Personal Information and Protection Act (S62) that applies to the public sector only, makes corrupt disclosure and use of personal information a criminal offence punishable by 2 years imprisonment or a fine of $11,000 or both.

In NSW prosecution is a matter for the Police. There have been no reports of any prosecutions although the NSW Privacy Commissioner in a submission to the Attorney General in 2004 said that he was aware of some matters that warranted investigation but did not have the resources to pursue them.

Another issue for the Australian and NSW Law Reform Commissions in their current reviews of privacy laws.

No comments:

Post a Comment