Data protection and privacy—Australia—Q&A guide

The following Information Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Data protection and privacy—Australia—Q&A guide
  • 1. Summarise the legislative framework for the protection of personally identifiable information (PII). Does your jurisdiction have a dedicated data protection law? Is the data protection law in your jurisdiction based on any international instruments on privacy or data protection?
  • 2. Which authority is responsible for overseeing the data protection law? Describe the investigative powers of the authority.
  • 3. Are there legal obligations on the data protection authority to cooperate with other data protection authorities, or is there a mechanism to resolve different approaches?
  • 4. Can breaches of data protection law lead to administrative sanctions or orders, or criminal penalties? How would such breaches be handled?
  • 5. Does the data protection law cover all sectors and types of organisation or are some areas of activity outside its scope?
  • 6. Does the data protection law cover interception of communications, electronic marketing or monitoring and surveillance of individuals? If not, list other relevant laws in this regard.
  • 7. Identify any further laws or regulations that provide specific data protection rules for related areas.
  • 8. What forms of PII are covered by the law?
  • 9. Is the reach of the law limited to PII owners and processors of PII established or operating in the jurisdiction?
  • More...

Data protection and privacy—Australia—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to data protection and privacy in Australia published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: May 2020).

Authors: McCullough Robertson—Alex Hutchens; Jeremy Perier; Meena Muthuraman

1. Summarise the legislative framework for the protection of personally identifiable information (PII). Does your jurisdiction have a dedicated data protection law? Is the data protection law in your jurisdiction based on any international instruments on privacy or data protection?

The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), which was enacted to give effect to Australia’s agreement to implement the OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (1980), governs how personal information is handled in Australia by the Commonwealth Government and private sector entities with an annual turnover of at least A$3 million (APP entities). Some small businesses (with a global aggregate group turnover of A$3 million or less) are also covered by the Privacy Act, including private health services providers that hold health information, businesses that sell or purchase personal information, credit-reporting bodies and contracted service providers for a Commonwealth contract.

‘Personal information’ is the conceptual equivalent of PII in other jurisdictions, and is defined as information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable, whether the information or opinion is

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