Mandatory data breach reporting : What you need to start doing right now


An entity that is required to comply with the Privacy Act 1988 must take reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, interference and loss, as well as unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. This extends to situations where an entity engages a third-party to store, maintain or process personal information on its behalf.

In February of this year, the Commonwealth government passed the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016, which will amend the Privacy Act, making it mandatory for companies and organisations to report “eligible data breaches” to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and any affected, at-risk individuals.

Does the Privacy Act apply to my organisation?

Australian Government agencies and all businesses and not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover more than $3 million have responsibilities under the Privacy Act, subject to some exceptions.

The Privacy Act also covers small businesses, with a turnover of $3 million or less under the following circumstances:

  • Private sector health service providers. Organisations providing a health service include:

– traditional health service providers, such as private hospitals, day surgeries, medical practitioners, pharmacists and allied health professional
– complementary therapists, such as naturopaths and chiropractor
– gyms and weight loss clinic

  • Child care centres, private schools and private tertiary educational institutions.
  • Businesses that sell or purchase personal information.
  • Credit reporting bodies.

What are reasonable steps?

The reasonable steps entities should take to ensure the security of personal information will depend on the circumstances, including the following:

  • The nature of the entity holding the personal information.
  • The amount and sensitivity of the personal information held.
  • The possible adverse consequences for an individual.
  • The information handling practices of the entity holding the information.
  • The practicability of implementing the security measure, including the time and cost involved.
  • Whether a security measure is itself privacy invasive…Click HERE to read full article.