Australia: Closer alignment with international penalties

Organisations that conduct business within Australia will be caught by the Privacy Act. By Associate Professor Dr Elizabeth Coombs and Dr Ketan Modh of the University of Malta.

After a series of high-profile data breaches in 2022,(1) the Australian parliament, on 28 November 2022, passed the Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Act 2022, which increases penalties for serious or repeated privacy breaches and strengthens the regulator’s enforcement and information sharing powers. The Acts affected were the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005; the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010, and the Privacy Act 1988.(2)

Corporations should focus not only on the increased penalties but also closely examine the changes to the Privacy Act’s extraterritorial scope, their breach notification scheme obligations, and the new powers of Australia’s Information Commissioner.

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