Data breach notifications necessary: ACCAN

Consumers at risk with lack of transparency as organisations sweep issues under the rug

Telecommunications consumer body, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), is urging the Senate Committee to back the introduction of mandatory data breach notification laws in the Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill 2013.

If passes, it would force government agencies and business to notify all affected customers whenever their personal or financial information has been compromised, and thus improving the security.

ACCAN claims arguments by business lobbyists that the move would create an “undue burden on business” are simply means to sweep privacy breaches under the carpet.

“Consumers have a right to be informed when companies lose or misuse their data and ACCAN does not believe such notifications would be difficult to provide,” ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, said.

“Reducing transparency means consumers can’t take steps to protect themselves. If their data has been hacked, not having notifications only helps cyber criminals cover their tracks and disappear before consumers realise they’ve been ripped off.”

According to ACCAN, the notifications will also inform consumers of organisations with poor data breach histories, while offering an incentive for these companies to improve their data handling practices.

Stakeholders were informed the Bill had gone to committee Tuesday last week, but the committee is no longer accepting submissions as of Thursday last week.

In 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended mandatory data breach notifications be introduced after a multi-year, multi-stakeholder review of the issue.

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Tags: security, Telco, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), consumer, privacy, Telecommunications
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