Regulators co-operate to improve privacy compliance
A memorandum of understanding to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Office of the Federal Privacy Commission was signed today.
ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, and the Federal Privacy Commissioner, Mr Malcolm Crompton, signed the agreement in Canberra today.
Last year's changes to the Privacy Act 1998 require much of the private sector to uphold uniform standards for the protection of personal information. The standards interact with some of the existing fair trading rules.
The MOU provides a framework for co-operation when the responsibilities of the FPC and the ACCC overlap and importantly will allow both agencies to take advantage of opportunities to assist each other with enforcement activities, investigations and litigation, training and education.
"Our organisations will work together to ensure that privacy statements issued by companies to comply with the Privacy Act are not misleading or deceptive", Professor Fels said today.
"We need to work together, to share knowledge and resources, particularly in relation to the developing areas of e-commerce and Internet issues. As part of the process, we may work together with the ACCC's Competing Fairly Forum. Later this year we may also consider a joint internet sweep day targeting on-line compliance", Professor Fels said.
"We are very conscious of the need for consistency of approach in any potential overlapping areas of responsibility", Federal Privacy Commissioner, Malcolm Crompton said. "The compliance framework has to make sense for businesses and consumers and it must be efficient. By working closely with the ACCC, we expect to get privacy information out to more consumers and to get a clearer insight about privacy practices and privacy concerns".