Brandis Finally Catches Up With Privacy Alert Commitment

It has only taken Attorney-General George Brandis three years, but he has finally caught up with Labor’s proposed legislation for mandatory notification of consumers when their personal data has been breached.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

BRANDIS FINALLY CATCHES UP WITH PRIVACY ALERT COMMITMENT

It has only taken Attorney-General George Brandis three years, but he has finally caught up with Labor’s proposed legislation for mandatory notification of consumers when their personal data has been breached.

This is the most basic of privacy protections, allowing consumers to take action such as cancelling credit cards when their data has been hacked. While it is customary for many banks, government departments, retailers and telecommunications providers to notify customers of breaches, it is not compulsory.

That is why Labor introduced legislation in government in 2013 to implement mandatory data breach alerts, and re-introduced the same bill in 2014. In 2015, Labor made it a condition of its support of new data retention laws that the government finally implement the measure, which it agreed to do by the end of 2015.

Now, in August 2016, it appears Senator Brandis is finally getting on to honouring his commitment. It is unfortunate that he has chosen to announce his intentions in a tabloid newspaper before opening discussions with Labor on legislation, given the bipartisan support for the measure.

Labor calls on Senator Brandis to negotiate with Labor on the proposed legislation, to ensure a speedy passage through Parliament. Consumers have been waiting long enough, it is important privacy alerts are done once and done right.

Senator Brandis will face the same resistance from special interests as Labor did when it first proposed this legislation three years ago, including the ridiculous assertion that it would be too large an administrative burden for banks to implement data breach alerts. Mr Turnbull’s government has not had good form in standing up to the banks so far. Mr Turnbull and Senator Brandis must not bend to the banking industry’s will on this very important issue.

MONDAY, 22 AUGUST 2016