Australia to introduce new privacy law

Melbourne: In the backdrop of UK’s News of the World phone-hacking scandal, Australia is mulling introducing a law that would allow people to sue for serious invasion of their privacy.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said privacy is a growing concern in Australia, partly because of the events in Britain, as well as other breaches such as theft of the Sony PlayStation user’s personal details.
“Right now there is no general right to privacy in Australia, and that means there’s no certainty for anyone wanting to sue for an invasion of their privacy,” O’Connor said.
“The News of the World scandal and other recent mass breaches of privacy, both at home and abroad, have put the spotlight on whether there should be such a right,” O’Connor added.
He said the Government will eventually decide if it should legislate on the issue.
“In 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission made 295 recommendations, including that Australia brings in a privacy law.
“It’s a timely debate to be had, we did always look to attend to those recommendations,” O’Connor said.
He said a media organisation should have to ensure that any breach of a person’s privacy was in the public interest.
Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said with new media, there are privacy issues that need to be addressed, such as cyber-bullying and stalking.
A discussion paper will be released to the public today to canvass the prospect of a law dealing with serious invasions of privacy. (PTI)