The Attorney General’s Department (AGD) has been conducting a review of Australia’s 33-year Privacy Act, considering, among other things, the current definition of personal information.
In October, the department published a thematic document for public consultation. The undersecretary of the AGD’s criminal law and transparency branch, Autumn Field, said that around 200 submissions were received to the consultation and that she was in the process of finalizing a discussion paper, which will be released for public consultation in the coming weeks. .
“That discussion paper will talk about the types of topics that we picked up from the presentations and will also raise some possible options to reform the Privacy Law. And the ideas that will be presented are basically the ones that we think are most justified. Public discussion,” he said on Friday to the Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Networks.
“After we have publicly consulted on that discussion paper, we will review all your submissions and formulate a final report for the government’s consideration.
The review was supposed to happen last year, but as previously stated, COVID is to blame for the delay.
But in addition to working on the reform of the Privacy Act of 1988Field said AGD was also working on additional piece of legislation targeting social media companies operating in Australia.
“In addition to reviewing the Privacy Act, we are also working separately on draft legislation that will specifically target social media companies and other online platforms with similar topics in terms of ensuring greater transparency on how it is used. personal information, and how consent is obtained, especially for young people, “he told the committee.
“We are in the process of finalizing that legislation at this time, and that will also be released for public discussion.”
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Field was asked if the amount of legislation in the works around social media and other tech companies highlighted the “extraordinary power that must be addressed through regulation and accountability.”
“As for the Privacy Act review, it is really a process to make sure the current settings are properly calibrated and that there is the right balance between protecting people’s personal information and ensuring that we can operate in an environment. very digital environment. economy, “he said in response. “The purpose of the review is to eliminate those problems and determine how the Privacy Act could be improved.”
Earlier this year, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Redbubble, TikTok, and Twitter committed to the Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Disinformation, which is a voluntary code that signatories have agreed to follow on their respective platforms.
Joining Field was Pauline Sullivan, First Deputy Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transportation, Regional Development and Communications. Sullivan was asked why the government accepted a voluntary code that was developed by social media companies.
She told the committee that the platforms worked in a timely manner to put a code in place and that they have provided transparency reports on time.
Sullivan said the minister has been given advice for further consideration.