Navigating the changes: privacy law reforms in 2024.

30/04/24 | Reading time: 2 minutes

Privacy is paramount, especially in today’s digital age where our personal information is constantly being collected, stored, and shared. The Australian Government is set to make significant changes to privacy laws to protect consumers and align with global standards after a series of data breaches. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Background

  • In February 2023, the Privacy Act Review Report 2022 proposed changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Act).
  • In September 2023, the Government shared its response, outlining potential changes to the Act to be implemented in 2024.

2. Key proposed changes

Evolving definitions

  • ‘Personal information’ to include data related to a person, even if their name isn’t known.
  • A ‘reasonably identified person’ to now include someone distinguishable from another.
  • ‘Sensitive information’ might include genomic data and information derived from non-sensitive sources.

Small business exception changes

  • Currently, some small businesses don’t have to comply with the Act.
  • Soon, small businesses engaged in high-risk data activities could lose this exception, and it may eventually be removed entirely.

Data erasure rights

  • Australians will gain the right to request that companies delete their personal data.
  • Companies must also inform any third parties that provided the data about the erasure request.

New data collection guidelines

Businesses must ensure they only collect, use, or share personal data if it’s fair and reasonable, even if the person consents.

Updated data retention rules

  • Companies must protect personal data and destroy it when no longer needed for business purposes.
  • Future changes may encourage businesses to minimize data collection and delete unneeded data quickly.

Revised data breach reporting

Businesses may soon have to notify the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals of data breaches within 72 hours of discovery.

Putting you more in control of your personal information

Australian privacy law reforms in 2024 are all about giving you greater control when it comes to your personal information. With stronger protections, clearer communication and greater accountability, these changes aim to create a safer and more transparent digital environment for everyone.

3. What you should do

  • Audit your processes: Undertake a privacy law compliance audit. Review how your business handles personal data.
  • Plan ahead: Consider the necessary changes to comply with the proposed regulations, including erasing data on request.
  • Further updates: Stay tuned for more updates on these important privacy law changes.
  • Contact us: If you need assistance with privacy compliance, or otherwise in relation to the upcoming changes, the Bespoke team is here to help.