Tasmania Law Reform Institute

Community input sought on Privacy Laws

The privacy of Tasmanians will be the subject of a major review, and the public are being asked for their input.

The Tasmania Law Reform Institute has been tasked with examining the state’s legal protections around privacy.

The Institute has released an issues paper, Review of Privacy Laws in Tasmania, as part of the public consultation for the review. The paper aims to inform discussion about how privacy can be best protected amid rapid technological advances and changing community attitudes.

“There is currently no comprehensive privacy regulation in Tasmania,” TLRI Director Professor Jeremy Prichard said. “Protection is fragmented across different laws that cover different types of privacy – like your personal space, or personal information about you.”

Tasmania’s main law for dealing with privacy, the Personal Information Protection Act (2004), covers many areas but gaps still exist, Professor Prichard said.

“For example, non-government agencies are not covered, and it’s not clear what rules apply when people voluntarily provide personal information to government agencies without being asked,” he said.

“Some of our laws were written two decades ago, so we need to examine how well they apply to new surveillance technologies, facial recognition systems, biometric data and so on.”

TLRI Principal Research Fellow Dr Rebecca Bradfield said it was vital a wide range of privacy concerns were investigated.

“Do we have sufficient penalties for breaches? Is a mandatory reporting system needed for breaches? And are people adequately protected from stalking and harassment?” Dr Bradfield said. “We need community and expert opinion on such questions.”

The Institute is calling for feedback from the community, government and other stakeholders on the questions raised in the issues paper and possible reforms to Tasmanian law. Submission can be made until July 11. The Institute will consider all feedback and produce a final report and recommendations later this year.

The inquiry was initiated by a reference from the Hon Meg Webb MLC. Funding has been provided by the Solicitors’ Guarantee Fund.

The issues paper and submission template can be accessed athttps://www.utas.edu.au/law-reform/publications/ongoing-law-reform-projects Submissions can be sent using the online template, emailed to law.reform@utas.edu.au or mailed to the Tasmania Law Reform Institute, Private Bag 89, Hobart TAS 7001.

For more information or queries about the project, contact the TLRI at Law.Reform@utas.edu.au on +61 3 6226 2069.

Media contact: David Beniuk +61 400 339 620, david.beniuk@utas.edu.au

Published on: 02 May 2023