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Data & Privacy

Data is a crucial part of every business environment. It is imperative that all organisations have systems and procedures in place to manage local and international legal requirements as well as maintaining the confidence of all stakeholders as to their data practices

Data & Privacy

Data and privacy regulation in Australia in 2023 is in a state of flux. There is a review into the Privacy Act 1988 to determine if it remains fit for purpose as well as an Online Privacy Bill to better regulate social media and the digital platforms.


Your data is an asset

Our lawyers understand that how your business handles data, including both personal and non-personal information, is critical to its success. We understand that the regulation of data extends to the various technologies used to deploy it and how it is shared with third parties.

Our practice covers data in many forms, including business information, big data sets and personal and sensitive information. While we spend significant time advising on the Privacy Act and the Spam Act, the issues around data often crossover into competition law, technology and complex commercialisation arrangements.

Increasingly, customers and contractual counterparties are demanding transparency into data practices and robust data governance practices are being required of businesses at all levels.

We also understand managing data and privacy risk involves a range of stakeholders within an organisation and we often work not only with general counsel but internal executive teams including chief data officers, chief security and technology officers, chief risk officers and the regulatory and communications executives.

We can assist with your privacy and data protection concerns by:

  • reviewing current policies and underlying data practices
  • training management and frontline staff
  • preparing and implementing policies, codes of conduct, and internal procedures
  • providing advice in crisis situations – such as breaches
  • preparing compliance plans and conducting privacy impact assessments.


Information and data governance frameworks

We work with boards and senior managers to develop and implement information governance frameworks. This encompasses risk management strategies and often overlaps with other areas of risk and compliance, including anti-corruption. Our primary concern is Privacy Act compliance as well as relevant international requirements so that group policies can align with all relevant jurisdictions.

Harmonising compliance

Many organisations operate under GDPR and need to streamline their Australian compliance practices with their international processes and procedures. We have experience in undertaking these reviews and assisting in drafting both internal and client facing documentation to support and enable this.

Consumer Data Right (CDR)

We have experience advising participants in the CDR system in relation to the Privacy Safeguards and the relevant documentation to support various compliance obligations.

Digitising business

We have advised many clients as they take their businesses into the digital age, finding new ways to leverage their data assets, embracing new technologies and collaborating with third parties to provide and develop new services. We can assist in ensuring contractual obligations supporting these offerings are compliant with privacy and other laws.

Data breach planning, investigation and response

How you respond to a data breach can be critical to your continued success and survival. We can assist you to develop breach response plans, rehearse and scenario plan and prepare in advance your response and investigation planning methodology and team. We also assist in responding to privacy complaints, access requests and liaising with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Data insights

We have extensive experience advising organisations about the collection and use of various elements of personal information in Australia, including the ability to use personal information to create derivative statistical and risk assessment products for use in and out of Australia.

Data security and critical infrastructure

We have experience drafting privacy, right to information and data security provisions for commercial contracts for local, State and Federal government agencies, Government owned corporations and statutory authorities. If you are impacted by the critical infrastructure rules, we can advise you in relation to data processing and storage and notification obligations.

Regulator investigations and enquiries

We have experience:

  • acting for both corporations and individuals in regulatory investigations and prosecutions
  • assisting clients in managing regulators’ monitoring and enforcement visits
  • advising on and creating compliance and risk management policies and programs tailored to the particular risks faced by different corporations and individuals
  • advising companies, directors and officers involved in external investigations and prosecutions brought by Commonwealth and state agencies.

Open data frameworks and information access (FOI)

We regularly act on behalf of applicants and respondents to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. We advise on the validity (or otherwise) of the scope of a request, and assist clients in refusing requests for documents that are either too voluminous or seek only documents that are exempt under the FOI Act. We also assist in the processing of FOI requests, including the review of documentation and assessment for exemption. Once a decision is made, we assist the decision-maker to communicate the basis of their decision. We have successfully defended appeals and complaints made to the FOI Commissioner in respect of those decisions.

Secrecy advice

We advise Commonwealth and State governments (and contractors) on the application of secrecy provisions in agency-specific legislation such as the Health Insurance Act.

Privacy impact assessments (PIAs)

We have experience in preparing PIAs for government agencies and private organisations. We understand a PIA covers not only strict privacy compliance but often related government policy issues and requires consideration and involvement of affected stakeholders.

Recent Posts

26 September 2023 - Knowledge

Digital ID Bill 2023 open for public consultation

#Data & Privacy, #Government

The Australian Government has released the Digital ID Bill 2023 for public consultation until 10 October 2023. The proposed legislation aims to provide individuals with a simple, inclusive and convenient method for verifying their identity in online transactions with government and businesses, while protecting the security of their personal information.

26 June 2023 - Knowledge

Top 10 tips for participants in the DATA Scheme

#Corporate & Commercial Law, #Government, #Data & Privacy

The National Data Commissioner has registered the first accredited users under the Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022. We share 10 tips to help participants prepare their organisation for the DATA Scheme.

03 May 2023 - Knowledge

Privacy and AI – what are the risks?

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications, #Data & Privacy, #Intellectual Property

We look at the hidden privacy risks associated with the use of AI models and why you should exercise caution before sharing your personal details.

01 March 2023 - Knowledge

Australia's Privacy Act review: What you need to know

#Data & Privacy, #Corporate & Commercial Law

The Australian government has released a report proposing 116 changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), inviting public feedback by 31 March 2023.

30 November 2022 - Knowledge

Privacy Commissioner calls out implications of the Optus and Medibank data breaches

#Data & Privacy

Recent breaches have spawned new higher penalties being legislated and the Privacy Commissioner declaring a “wakeup call” has been issued.

29 November 2022 - Knowledge

Queensland Government Bulletin

#Government, #Data & Privacy, #Workplace Relations & Safety

This edition includes a timely reminder to government agencies of the considerations that should be given to the collection, storage and retention of personal information. Plus, a discussion on the recent changes to the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld).

04 October 2022 - Knowledge

Optus data breach: Lessons for CEOs, Legal Counsel and Chief Risk Officers

#Data & Privacy

Beyond the cyber and privacy issues, there are broader governance and risk lessons that can be learned from the recent Optus data breach. We deep dive into three key areas that require C-suite attention – current risk processes and assessments, regulatory risk estimation and lessons from the past.

04 October 2022 - Knowledge

Automated decision-making: The importance of human oversight and transparency

#Data & Privacy

The use of automated systems and artificial intelligence is on the rise. We look at some common pitfalls and lessons for businesses and governments when implementing automated decision-making.

27 September 2022 - Knowledge

Optus: When does a data breach lead to a breach of law?

#Data & Privacy

The recent Optus cyberattack has not only raised questions about how long telcos should be required to store personal data, but also whether a data breach or hack may lead to a breach of the Privacy Act or other laws. In this article, we discuss some of the factors that may determine whether a data breach leads to a violation of privacy laws.

31 August 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government, #Data & Privacy

In this edition, we remind government agencies that the use of automated decision-making tools need to be balanced against transparency and explainability requirements.

17 August 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government, #Data & Privacy

In this edition, we remind government agencies that the use of automated decision-making tools need to be balanced against transparency and explainability requirements.

16 August 2022 - Knowledge

Queensland Government Bulletin

#Government, #Data & Privacy

In this edition, we highlight some of the significant changes proposed to Queensland’s Information Privacy Act, which include revising the ‘personal information’ definition and a new mandatory data breach reporting scheme.