HWL Ebsworth has the largest and most experienced Data Protection and Privacy team of any law firm in Australia, comprising 19 partners and a dedicated team of lawyers.
Our Data Protection and Privacy team has acted for government agencies, private sector organisations, financial institutions and Australia’s leading credit reporting agency since the enactment of privacy legislation in Australia. We are familiar not only with the relevant legislation, but also the wealth of supporting material providing guidance in this area which must be considered to understand the expectations of Privacy Commissioners and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
Australian data protection and privacy law and policy continue to undergo enormous changes. The Australian Government’s legislative response to the extensive Australian Law Reform Commission Report on privacy released in 2008 led to a complete change in the privacy principles with which all 'APP entities' (including most businesses and Commonwealth Government entities) must comply.
These legal changes brought with them possible changes in the liability that can arise from a breach of privacy. HWL Ebsworth's extensive experience in the insurance industry will assist organisations as they establish and implement procedures to allow the best cover to be obtained for new insurable risks, and as they work with insurers to deal with any breaches that may occur. These issues will also be felt in reinsurance arrangements.
Our relevant experience includes:
developing privacy compliance programs for major Australian companies in the financial services, health, pharmaceutical and medical research, retail, brewing and food distribution industries to meet their private sector obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth);
working closely with the Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner both on behalf of clients and in an advisory capacity;
advising on privacy legislation and codes, responses to complaints of breach of privacy, requests for determinations, privacy statements, consents and policies;
advising on issues relating to privacy such as the Spam Act 2003 (Cth), Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (Cth) and Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth);
- advising Australian government departments and agencies on privacy issues, including:
- drafting for the Department of Finance and Deregulation the Guidelines for Code of Conduct investigation processes,
- advising the Australian Taxation Office on Tax File Numbers, Australian Business Numbers and their interaction with privacy laws,
- managing a claim for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for compensation which arose out of a breach of privacy by DIAC which was alleged to have led to the loss of a person's employment,
- carrying out employee Code of Conduct investigations concerning breach of privacy allegations
- advising Australia’s leading credit reporting agency in relation to major regulatory investigations by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner;
- liaising with the Australian Law Reform Commission on behalf of clients in relation to its inquiry into privacy
- liaising with the Privacy Commissioner for numerous clients to negotiate favourable outcomes; and
- conducting and advising on Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) for numerous clients including:
- conducting an independent PIA for the National E-Health Transition Authority and for the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services in relation to the Australian Government’s proposed e-health project,
- conducting PIAs on Child Support initiatives and the Electronic Controlled Drugs Register,
- conducting a PIA on the Welfare to Work reforms for the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations,
- conducting a PIA for Medicare on the administration of the superannuation clearing house function, and
- advising the Department of Human Services in connection with PIA relating from its absorption of Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support, CRS Australia and Australian Hearing Programs.