There is no question that one of the most high-profile legal issues at the moment relates to privacy and data control.
Recent privacy breaches have highlighted that Australia’s laws may not be as effective as we would like in requiring businesses to take appropriate precautions to prevent the inappropriate release of private information and personal data.
In part, this may be because Australia has a very low penalty regime with respect to privacy breaches. This, and other relevant matters, are currently being considered - and an update to the Privacy Act 1988 has now been drafted and introduced into Parliament.
The Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill 2022 considers some of the core elements referred to in the 2021 Exposure Draft. In particular it increases penalties for data breach. Currently, a corporate entity could be exposed to penalties of up to $2.22 million.
Moving forward, under the new regime, penalties will be the greater of:
3 times the value of the benefit obtained by the company; or
30% of the adjusted turnover of the company during the period in which the privacy breach occurred.
Non-corporate entities and individuals will have their penalties raised from $444,000 to $2.5 million.