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Increasing Data Security in Australia

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In our era of constant digital connectivity, the risk of data breaches and personal information becoming public had been a growing concern, which is now being addressed. As of today, Australian citizens can rest a bit easier knowing that the new Australian Privacy Principles are being enforced, and they significantly improve how businesses and federal government agencies collect, store and manage individuals’ personal information.

The 13 principles are much more detailed than the previous Information Privacy Principles that were in place, and is a crucial step forward for Australia, in order to protect the way our government agencies and businesses protect sensitive information from being breached or disclosed. Australian companies or agencies that fail to strengthen the way they collect, disclose and secure personally identifiable information risk incurring penalties and fines of up to $1.7 million, and regulators now have broader powers than ever before so they can to impose enforceable actions against non-compliant organizations.

Data breaches are top of mind for many right now, with the recent discovery of the government’s massive data breach whereby the private information of almost 10,000 people in immigration detention in Australia was published on the Department of Immigration website. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is investigating the incident, but many are speculating that they will in fact be found in breach of the privacy principles.

Organizations across numerous sectors collect personal information, including: government agencies, finance or healthcare organizations, online retailers, and utilities. All of these types of organizations now need to ensure that they way they collect, share and store their users personal information is done so in a secure manner. This means that they need to ensure the solutions they use for their data management needs to have stringent encryption, have access protocols that ensure only authorized users can open secure content, and maintain the integrity of users personally identifiable information.

I’m happy to see the Australian government strengthening these nationwide security policies, and ensuring the privacy of its citizen’s personally identifiable information. As time goes on, and technology advances, more data will be shared or stored digitally and the privacy and security of sensitive information will only become more critical.

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