Embedding a privacy-by-design approach in how we develop legislation

Privacy has been front of mind for the Office of the National Data Commissioner since our creation a year ago. The proposed Data Sharing and Release legislation will change the way the Australian Government handles data, including personal information.

If successful, it will help shift data use from ‘need to know’ to ‘responsibility to share safely’ where it is in the public interest to do so. Data used in a safe and responsible way can deliver benefits for all Australians, particularly when they access government services. These changes will require careful consideration of data safeguards to ensure the privacy of Australian’s data remains protected.

We want to take a proactive approach on privacy, and are considering privacy impact at every stage of legislative development.

Over the last year, the Office of the National Data Commissioner has actively engaged with experts and advocates on how to design the framework to safely share data. We also commissioned an independent Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) on the framework that identifies its strengths and weaknesses. The PIA made eight recommendations that we are adopting into the framework to minimise risks while maximising benefits.

Once we have a draft legislation, we will commission a second PIA to assess whether we have implemented the policy framework into legislation successfully.

Your feedback is important to make sure we get it right. The PIA and a policy Discussion Paper is now available for your comment. I encourage you to consider these documents and let us know if there are areas we can improve or where you think we have got the balance right.

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