[LINK] ALRC Releases Privacy Issues Paper

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Oct 9 09:47:25 AEST 2006

It's marvellous the spin that reporters, and especially subbies, put 
on Media Releases.  The actual news is:

ALRC Issues Paper Released:
Submissions due by Monday 15 January 2007

Media Release at:

Further details at:

[Ignore the dumb sub-editor's heading on the AAP reprint in the SMH]

Telemarketers privacy enemy No.1
The Sydney Morning Herald
Date: October 9 2006

AUSTRALIANS want their personal, financial and employment details 
better protected from telemarketing firms, but their health 
information more freely available to hospitals, a new privacy report 

The first of three reports scrutinising who can collect private 
details and how that information is used was released by the 
Australian Law Reform Commission yesterday.

"Just by surfing the web, you may reveal vast amounts of personal 
information, often without your knowledge," said the commission's 
president, David Weisbrot. "For example, your health, education, 
credit history and sexual or political orientation."

He said this information could be matched with information in other 
databases to create comprehensive profiles of individuals.

"We want to know how concerned Australians are about this and what 
they want done about it," he said.

"We also want to know if tech-savvy young people, who have grown up 
in a surveillance society, have different views from their parents - 
for example, they appear to be much more willing to share personal 
information and photos on the web."

The paper poses 142 questions about the Privacy Act and privacy 
issues. Up to 73 per cent of people polled during the first stage of 
the review said telemarketers were their main concern when protecting 
their privacy.

Other prominent issues were the handling of their personal 
information by private companies and governments, using the internet, 
and the Federal Government's proposed smartcards, which will 
integrate more than 25 government-service and concession cards.

"On the one hand, probably the preponderance of people complained 
about breaches of privacy, but quite a few people complained about 
the reverse," Professor Weisbrot said.

Personal stories ranged from unwanted text messages from companies to 
not getting access to information. One respondent mentioned 
overhearing patients' details in a waiting room.

Credit reporting, workplace privacy and neighbourhood spying rated 
low as concerns.

A second paper will be released in December and the final report 
recommending amendments to the Privacy Act is due in March 2008. 
Public consultation is under way. The issues paper can be viewed at 


Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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