New Privacy Laws Affect NFPs
6 February 2014 at 8:53 am
Australia’s new privacy laws start on March 12 and will apply to Not for Profit organisations, Government agencies and private sector businesses covered by the Privacy Act 1988.
“With the introduction of new privacy laws, people’s privacy rights will be enhanced and strengthened in areas such as direct marketing, the disclosure of personal information overseas and requesting access to and correction of personal information held by an organisation,” Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said.
From March 12, new privacy laws mean that Australians can :
- ask an organisation where they collected their personal information from (in response to receiving direct marketing)
- opt out of receiving direct marketing communications from organisations
- find out if their personal information will be sent overseas
- request access to their personal information held by an organisation or agency
- request a correction to their personal information held by an organisation or agency.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) says it will focus on public education during a Privacy Awareness Week campaign (May 4-10); the primary privacy awareness and education event in the Asia Pacific region.
“Privacy Awareness Week 2014 will be about making sure people understand how to exercise their new and existing rights,” Pilgrim said.
“The OAIC’s recent 2013 Community Attitudes to Privacy survey results show Australians are becoming more concerned about privacy risks.
“People expect the organisations they deal with to take effective steps to safeguard their personal information. For example, just over 60 per cent of Australians have decided to not deal with an organisation because of privacy concerns, which is an increase from just over 40 per cent in 2007.
“At the same time an increasing number (82 per cent) of Australians are aware of federal privacy laws, and 96 per cent of them feel that they should be informed of how their information is handled and protected, and if it is lost.
“The new laws see a greater responsibility put on businesses and Australian Government agencies to be more transparent about how they handle personal information,” Pilgrim said.
The new privacy laws will also give the Commissioners new powers to resolve privacy complaints and investigations, including the ability to accept enforceable undertakings from agencies and organisations and, in serious or repeated cases, seek a penalty of up to $1.7 million.