Electronic Frontiers Australia, the nation’s leading voice for Digital Rights since 1994, has renewed its call for mandatory data breach notification laws following the release of a report showing 96% of Australians are in favour of the laws. The report by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner rating community attitudes to privacy, showed a strong community interest and awareness around the issue. 85% of respondents felt strongly about the need for notifications from the private sector, with 88% feeling strongly about the need for notifications from government.
Mandatory data breach notification laws have long been on the agenda, having first been recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission back in 2008. The laws came close to being a reality in the last parliament, having been recommended by the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in June. The bill was buried however in the flurry of pre-election legislation, and has now lapsed. While it is not clear what position the new government is likely to take, it is clear that the issue is not going away.
In addition to the overwhelming public support displayed in the report, mandatory data breach notification laws also have the support of the OIAC, the Australian Law Reform Commission, the Australian Privacy Commissioner and public interest groups including EFA and the Australian Privacy Foundation.
EFA Board Member Dr. Sean Rintel said the report showed that the laws were long overdue. “People are becoming increasingly aware of risks to their privacy, and have a right to expect that government and the private sector will uphold their responsibility to protect personal data, Dr. Rintel said.
“EFA has long supported mandatory data breach notification laws, and it is clear that there is now near unanimous public support as well. It’s time our laws caught up.”