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Monday, November 27, 2006

Shrill whistle about privacy implications of extension of money laundering law

That warning bell from the UK (see item below) has at least this counterpart here - a shrill whistle from the Victorian Privacy Commission about the Federal Government's proposed Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Bill. Hopefully it's loud enough to be heard in Canberra this week.

The Bill is currently the subject of an examination by a Senate Committee due to report today.

In this submission ( 21 November 2006 ) the acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner points to a few inconvenient facts - despite the title, there is a "significant risk that the proposed measures will lead to pervasive monitoring of the financial affairs of ordinary citizens" engaged in what may be ordinary every day transactions; reporting obligations on financial providers and others covered by the law concerning "suspicious matter" will mean that details of financial affairs will be held on a government database without the knowledge of those concerned; a database, in theory developed for counter terrorism and anti-money laundering purposes, may be accessed be a range of other government agencies for a variety of purposes; and state and territory designated agencies will be required to comply with Federal privacy principles where they access data, giving rise to further confusion about the interplay of Federal and state privacy laws.

The Federal Privacy Commissioner has also lodged a submission on the Bill. It's in more muted terms but you get the drift that anyone who thinks seriously about the privacy implications would have grave concerns about the Bill.

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