IAB Australia and ADMA have responded to the government’s recent review of the Privacy Act, accepting 38 of the report’s recommendations, accepting 68 in-principle and rejecting 10.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the government agreed to most of the 116 proposals contained in the Privacy Act, which was released in February, as reported by the AFR.
Among the proposals included are entities seeking informed consent about the handling of personal information, establishing stronger protections for children – including a children’s online privacy code, and ensuring entities are accountable for handling and destroying data when it is no longer needed.
In a report by the AFR, Dreyfus said the legislation, slated for 2024, would adopt a “fair and reasonable” test for information collection.
“Australians increasingly rely on digital technologies for work, education, health care and daily commercial transactions and to connect with loved hones,” he said.
“But when they are asked to hand over their personal data they rightly expect it will be protected,” Dreyfus added.
IAB Australia CEO Gai Le Roy said that the IAB will go through the government’s response in detail over the coming weeks and discuss the implications with its members.
“At first glance, it is pleasing to see that the Government has not agreed to adopt the report’s proposal to enable individuals to opt out of targeted advertising – that proposal simply would not have been workable.
“The Government has, however, indicated that it intends to consult further on several key issues that will impact our industry, including in relation to the definitions of personal information and targeting, the fair and reasonable test and the requirements in relation to trading of information.
“We look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Government on these issues to ensure that the impact on our industry is taken into account in the development of any legislative amendments,” Le Roy added.
Sarla Fernando, ADMA’s head of regulatory and advocacy advisory, said that ADMA welcomes the response to the proposals put forward and sees it as a response in the right direction that strikes a balance between a need for greater consumer protections and allowing businesses to retain key responsible marketing practices.
However, she noted that more work still needs to be done and that the government needs to continue its further consultations.
“The clear commitment to better protect children and the vulnerable is another welcome priority,” she said.
“ADMA has consistently advocated for the need to modernise Australia’s privacy laws to better reflect the landscape in which it operates – one that is more technologically advanced and global than it was at the time of its initial drafting. The changes are needed, but so is an approach that ensures that the laws remain effective in the future.”
“The Government’s response to the Privacy Act Review Report has some sensible ways forward in addressing the key concerns raised by ADMA in its submission – which followed extensive industry consultation. The net effect we will continue to advocate for, is a set of accepted principles which will halt malicious and damaging practices whilst facilitating the kind of targeted marketing consumers have come to value.
“While the response is encouraging, the journey is far from over, there is still work to be done to ensure that those proposals that are ‘agreed in principle’, progress in a way that makes sense and achieves its objective.
“ADMA urges the government to continue its further consultation while actively involving the data-driven marketing industry in particular. This is essential as it looks to create clear and distinct definitions for targeting and direct marketing, to ensure the law is both pragmatic and efficient.”
Fernando noted that ADMA strongly advocates for extended and inclusive engagement and consultation to get the proposed changes in the law, right for the consumer and for responsible business practices.
“ADMA remains committed to championing these dialogues. Our focus now will be in continuing to engage our member (and wider) community on a number of areas that require continued thought and consultation to mitigate the risk of drafted law not having the intended impact when applied in day-to-day business operations. We actively encourage our members to connect with us, ensuring our collective voice remains robust and relevant in shaping this pivotal legislation.”
ADMA noted that they are keen to contribute to the ongoing conversations around targeted advertising and trading as the government’s response still leaves some room for clarification. The industry body is also inclined to advocate for our SME members as the move to remove the small business exemption is explored.
Fernando said of the nature of these recommendations: “We must also stress, the way this Act looks to be shaping up means that it isn’t a mere reiteration of GDPR. Therefore, any company making assumptions rooted in its current GDPR compliance could well not meet the requirements of the changing Australian law.”
“The Government has said it intends to legislate this Act in 2024, and with enhanced powers for the Information Commissioner and increased punishments already in place, businesses need to act now to ensure they understand what they need to do to be compliant under this Act.”
Top image: Gai Le Roy and Sarla Fernando