Australian Privacy Principle guidelines released

Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim says business, government should be “ready to hit the ground running” on 12 March

The final version of the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) have been issued by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) following public consultation.

Businesses and government departments will both need to adhere to the APPs which cover topics such as the open and transparent management of personal information. The Principles come into law on 12 March, 2014.

In addition, the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012 will also need to be adhered to. Under the Bill, Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim will be able to seek civil penalties of up to $340,000 for individuals and up to $1.7 million for companies in the case of a serious privacy breach.

Pilgrim said businesses and government agencies should be ready for the change in law.

“The APP guidelines are not intended to be a step-by-step guide to developing compliant processes. Most of the requirements contained in the APPs are not new, and business and government should be ready to hit the ground running come March 12,” he said in a statement.

Speaking at the 2013 iaapANZ Privacy Summit in Sydney, Pilgrim said he had been asked by people if he would take a cautious approach after implementation of the privacy reforms.

“I have never been known to be subtle so the answer to that question is probably no,” he said at the time.

“Before people get too excited about the bluntness of that response, remember that I said I would always start by trying to resolve matters through conciliation. But please do not interpret conciliation to mean softly, softly.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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