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Privacy Guidelines 'Heavy-Handed'?


17 September 2001 at 1:09 pm
Staff Reporter
Claims that the draft guidelines that relate to new privacy laws due to come into effect at the end of the year are too heavy handed are being addressed by the Federal Privacy Commissioner.

Staff Reporter | 17 September 2001 at 1:09 pm


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Privacy Guidelines 'Heavy-Handed'?
17 September 2001 at 1:09 pm

Claims that the draft guidelines that relate to new privacy laws due to come into effect at the end of the year are too heavy handed are being addressed by the Federal Privacy Commissioner.

The Attorney General’s Office says the Federal Privacy Commissioner is the independent authority with responsibility for implementing the new national privacy regime for the private sector when it comes into effect on 21 December 2001.

The Government says it is aware that the Privacy Commissioner’s initial draft guidelines, which were circulated for business and public consultation in May this year, have caused concern for many businesses.

Attorney General Daryl Williams QC says the Privacy Commissioner has accepted the need to respond to these concerns and the guidelines have been substantially revised in consultation with business and industry groups.

Further consultation will also occur before the Privacy Commissioner finalises the guidelines later this month.

A spokeswoman for the Commissioner says that straightforward checklists and information sheets will also be released to assist business with the new law.

She said there was some perceptions in the larger business sector that the Guidelines document is too long and too prescriptive.

It’s believed that both the marketing and retail sector had expressed concerns about the Privacy Guidelines as well as a number of Not for Profit organisations.

The Commissioner’s office says the guidelines are only intended to present “good practice” not a strict prescription of ‘you must do this or else!’

The Privacy Commissioner has also indicated publicly that he will not be taking a heavy-handed approach to enforcement.

His office says it will be working with – not against – business and other organisations to ensure realistic and mutually agreeable outcomes.

The Government says it is also concerned to ensure that the revised guidelines will be of practical assistance to business and consumers consistent with its commitment to a light touch approach.

The updated guidelines will be released before the end of the month and Pro Bono Australia will follow the changes in future e-Newsletters.

For a copy of the Revised Guidelines in Word send us an e-mail to probono@probonoaustralia.com.au.



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