The final guidelines for the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) that will underpin the new Privacy Laws, which commence on March 12, have now been released.
The guidelines, which are published on the website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), outline the mandatory requirements organisations will need to fulfil to comply with the changes in the Privacy Act.
The guidelines also help remove any potential areas of confusion by providing the Privacy Commissioner’s interpretation of the 13 APPs. While the guidelines are not legally binding themselves, they provide a clear understanding of how the OAIC will interpret the new laws and its expectations with respect to compliance.
The 13 APPs represent the most significant change to privacy laws in Australia since they were first introduced in 1988. They apply to all entities unless they have annual revenues of less than $3m and do not provide a health service.
A central feature of the new laws is that entities must have procedures, practices and systems integrated into their organisational governance framework to ensure compliance with each of the 13 APPs and to manage privacy queries and complaints.
Key changes include stricter rules on sending personal information overseas, complaints handling, the use of personal details for direct marketing, the security of personal information and the treatment of unsolicited information.
The new laws also, for the first time, give the Privacy Commissioner teeth with fines of up to $1.7 m for companies and $340,000 for individuals for breaches of the Privacy Act.
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