In a recent jointfrom the Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter and the Minister for Communications and the Arts, the Hon Mitch Fifield, it was revealed that the Federal Government is proposing to introduce a new penalty regime under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the “Act”) to ensure Australians are protected when using online services, and that major social media companies take action to protect the personal information they collect about Australians, particularly children.
According to, the proposed changes are in response to a “boom in recent years of online companies trading in personal information.”
Under the proposed changes to be made, online companies, upon request, would be required to stop using or disclosing personal information about individuals.
The Attorney-General said in a:
Minister Fifield also commented on the need to review Australia's cyber laws:
It is anticipated the proposed amendments to the Act will:
It is expected that the proposed amendments will provide for a code for social media and online platforms which trade in personal information. The code will require these companies to be more transparent about any data sharing and requiring more specific consent of users when they collect, use and disclose personal information.
Funding to the OAIC will be provided by the Australian Government, with an additional $25 million over three years to give it the resources it needs to investigate and respond to breaches of individuals' privacy and oversee the online privacy rules, it is expected legislation to make the changes will be drafted ahead of community consultation in the second half of 2019.
reports companies such as Google and Facebook will be forced to pay larger penalties if they breach the new privacy laws. Social media companies and online platforms that seriously or repeatedly breach privacy laws would be fined $10 million under the reforms, compared to the current penalty of $2.1 million.
Alternatively, they could be charged three times the value of any benefit obtained by misusing information or 10 per cent of their annual domestic turnover, depending on which figure is greatest. For some companies, that could mean paying upwards of $100 million. Online companies would also be required to stop using or disclosing personal information about individuals upon request, under the changes to be made through amendments to the Act.
Speaking to, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said:
Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk announced in a:
TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.
FREE legislation news, delivered weekly.
Sign up now.#WeLoveLegislation Tweets
NEW information resources - great for training.