If there's one thing we can learn from the recent string of
celebrity nude photo scandals, it's that many Australians
struggle with privacy online. Rather than just telling Nick
Reiwoldtto keep his panties on, the Senate's Environment and
Communications References Committee has been investigating and come
up with some recommendations.
The Committee calls for some far-reaching reforms; all
businesses that touch the online space could be affected. Here are
the big headlines and our view on their significance.
Small business + large volume data = Privacy Act compliance
Most businesses with less than $3M turnover are excluded from the
Privacy Act requirements. Currently, this exempts over 90% of
Australian businesses from complying with the Act. The Committee
recommends narrowing this exclusion, making small businesses
holding substantial quantities of data subject to the Act. This
will create a lot of pain.
Targeted and behavioural advertising is super trendy and generates
lucrative click-through rates. Some people think this is an
invasion of privacy. The Committee recommended the development of a
"do not track" model that allows people to refuse to be
anonymously monitored for the purpose of behavioural advertising.
Of course, they could just disable cookies in their web
Extending application of the Privacy Act to offshore companies
The Committee recommends extending operation of the Privacy Act to
companies that collect data fromAustralia, even if they have no
other connection to Australia. Most social networking platforms are
not caught currently by the Act. This recommendation tries to fix
that. Frankly, we think it's got Buckley's of getting off
New cause of action for serious invasion of privacy
The High Court hinted at this back in 2001. The Australian Law
Reform Commission called for it in 2008. Now the Committee is also
saying we should create a legal cause for action for invasion of
privacy. We agree, and not just because the litigation would be
A similar law already exists in the UK thanks to Naomi
Campbell's drug habit. It applies when you would have a
reasonable expectation of privacy. Any law here would likely take a
similar form. Quick guide: you could sue if a paparazzo took photos
of you through a gap in the bedroom curtains. You could not sue if
you sold your wedding photos to NW and they made you look fat.
If you work in the online space any of these changes could
affect you, if implemented. For the time being though, enjoy your
advertising propensity modelling (responsibly) and keep thosephotos
locked in your safe.
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quite proud of it really.
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Those types of personal disclosure may still be permitted under the Privacy Act as long as your house is in order.
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