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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Federal responses to privacy reports

The Federal Attorney General has released the Government’s responses to two reports - the Privacy Commissioner’s review of the private sector provisions of the Privacy Act and a report of the Senate Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee.

It's generally standard "bureaucratese" with most recommendations "noted". Hardly what you would call a positive response. Many of the matters canvassed in the reports are now part of the Australian Law Reform Commission review of privacy laws.

The Government has rejected recommendations that would extend the Privacy Act to small business either entirely (as recommended by the Senate Committee) or to a greater degree (the Privacy Commissioner recommended it should apply to any company that employs more than 20 people).

No one – the Government included - seems to be too fussed that Australia’s current legislation has not to date satisfied the EU “adequacy” test, but the Government agrees negotiations should continue.

Although the Privacy Commissioner has welcomed the responses, they are hardly anything to get excited about, although the additional $8million in funding for the Commission in this year’s budget is an important step towards adequately resourcing the privacy regulator and improving public awareness of privacy issues.

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