The Government will also modernise credit reporting arrangements. Benefits for consumers include:
- clearer and tighter regulation of the use of personal information for direct marketing
- extending privacy protections to unsolicited information
- making it easier for consumers to access and correct information held about them
- tightening the rules on sending personal information outside Australia
- enhancing the powers of the Privacy Commissioner to improve the Commissioner’s ability to resolve complaints, conduct investigations and promote privacy compliance
- making a clear obligation on organisations to substantiate, or show their evidence to justify, disputed credit listings
- making it easier for individuals to access and correct their credit reporting information
- prohibiting the collection of credit reporting information about children
- simplifying the complaints process by removing requirement to complain to the organisation first, complaints can be made directly to the Privacy Commissioner, and by introducing alternative dispute resolution to more efficiently deal with complaints."
- Accept a written undertaking from an organisation that they will take or refrain from a specified action. This will be enforceable in the Federal Court or Federal Magistrates Court.
- Make a determination following an investigation conducted on the Commissioner’s own initiative. Currently, the Act only allows a determination to be made when investigating a complaint from an individual about an act of practice.
- Seek civil penalties in the case of serious or repeated interferences with privacy.
- Conduct performance assessments of private sector organisations handling personal information. Currently the Commissioner can only conduct audits of government agencies and credit reporting agencies.
These changes.... will implement the Government’s response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report – For your information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice."