Mandatory Privacy Breach Notification Now in Australia

Privacy is set to become a huge issue for Australian businesses as the government has introduced a bill into parliament requiring companies that have a data breach of some kind (eg. a hacking attack or a lost laptop) to notify the people whose data has been compromised (and possibly to notify the media).

Currently in Australia, companies are under no specific obligation to notify people if their data has been compromised. For example Sony Playstation had its systems hacked causing the exposure of the records of 77 Million users globally. There were over 1 Million users in Australia that were affected, however, there was no law which required Sony to tell the users their data had been breached. This will change under the new laws, expected to be passed by parliament in the next few months.

Combine mandatory breach notification and the recent changes to the law allowing the Privacy Commissioner to issue fines of up to $1.7 Million for breach of privacy and it looks like 2014 will be a big year for privacy compliance.

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