[ISN] Data Privacy Policy Urged

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Thu Nov 19 1998 - 22:44:41 PST

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    Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <ncb05at_private>
    AUSTRALIAN companies should consider implementing internal data protection
    policies following the Federal Government's failure to respond to a
    European Union (EU) deadline on privacy legislation, legal experts have
    The EU has warned its trading partners that member nations would not allow
    for the transmission of data to trading nations that had not enacted
    adequate data-protection and privacy measures. 
    Although the deadline expired on October 25, most EU States had not passed
    their own privacy legislation, making the likelihood of sanctions against
    partners remote, Freehill, Hollingdale and Page privacy solicitor Alan
    Peckham said. 
    But although the EU appeared to be behind its own schedule in implementing
    data-protection trade policy, Mr Peckham said his firm had recommended
    that clients trading with Europe should establish strict internal privacy
    The directive had sought to allow data exchange only with "White-listed" 
    countries (those with data-protection legislation).  However, Mr Peckham
    said that Australian companies with European trading interests could apply
    to "White-list" themselves if they could demonstrate adherence to their
    own, strict internal privacy policies.  "For the average Australian
    company that deals with the EU, this shouldn't really be a concern," he
    "But they should still make sure they have sufficient privacy protection
    in place to ensure that they can be `White-listed' later if it's
    required." Mr Peckham said that although the Federal Government passed
    privacy legislation in the late 1980s that protected personal data held by
    government departments - and was later extended to include credit
    providers - there was no privacy law covering the private sector. 
    Rather, the Federal Government had introduced a privacy code in March
    through Privacy Commissioner Moira Scollay as a means of industry
    National Office of the Information Economy executive director Paul Twomey
    said various EU spokesmen had indicated that this kind of selfregulation
    would satisfy EU personal data protection requirements, as long as there
    was adequate policing and enforcement. 
    "In the e-commerce world, consumers are clearly putting a premium on
    security issues," Dr Twomey said. 
    "So it's in a company's own commercial interest to enact some kind of
    personal data protection either by themselves, or through some sort of
    industry code." 
    The Victorian Government, meanwhile, plans to introduce a data-protection
    bill, providing an enforceable framework, in the autumn session of
    parliament next year. www.hreoc.gov.au. 
    AUSTRALIAN 17/11/1998 P46 
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