IAPP-GDPR Web Banners-300x250-FINAL

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

The recent disclosure of the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programmes has transcended national borders, sending shockwaves throughout the privacy community. Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the public needs clarity on the programmes. It’s “not good enough for politicians simply to say we have to compromise security with privacy,” he said, adding, “And if material that we thought was private and could only be accessed by the state with probable cause is not private vis-à-vis the state, then that is something we are entitled to be told. And we are entitled and ought to have a proper debate about.” Turnbull also noted he has met with U.S. Ambassador Jeff Bleich to establish “a clearer understanding” of the issues, Computerworld Australia reports.

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has said data-sharing agreements between Australian law enforcement and the U.S. falls outside the scope of his office’s powers, according to The Australian Financial Review.  “The Privacy Act,” he notes, “includes limited exceptions that allow government agencies and private-sector organisations covered by the act to use and disclose personal information for the enforcement of criminal laws or where the use or disclosure is required or authorised by or under Australian law.” Pilgrim added, “the Privacy Act will generally not cover the acts and practices of overseas government agencies.”

Additionally, in the same report, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has refused to comment on whether Australian authorities have shared data with the U.S. “All Australians would be concerned at the potential for their privacy to be invaded through what other countries are doing, where Australians’ personal data is being stored offshore, be that in big servers somewhere in the world,” he said. “What we wish for, and what certainly the government is going to assist on, is that there be a rule of law and proper checks and balances everywhere in the world, and that is what the battle is going to be about.”

Former Australian Privacy Commissioner Malcolm Crompton, CIPP/US, told Computerworld Australia, “The arguments about data sovereignty have certainly been fired up again…but it was always there,” adding, “we have always known about these risks—none of these are new. Now we just have more evidence that they’re collecting everything.”

Australian privacy advocates and some lawmakers want government authorities to increase transparency on their surveillance programs. Independent Sen. Nick Xenophon said Australian authorities should disclose how much data is collected from Australians.

In a ZDNet News column, Josh Taylor opines that Australians are already familiar with government authorities requiring telecommunications companies to hand over customer data. “It was only nine months ago,” Taylor writes, “that then-Attorney-General Nicola Roxon was saying very similar things…”

And New Zealand Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman has accused Prime Minister John Key of helping create a surveillance state by encouraging a U.S.-based data-mining company to establish business in the country, The New Zealnd Herald reports.

And The Guardian has released a comprehensive, interactive "guide to your metadata."

Read more by Jedidiah Bracy:
Tech Firms, Lawmakers Respond to NSA Leak
NSA Leak Continues To Send Shockwaves Through Privacy World
Reactions to NSA Disclosures Continue
The NSA’s PRISM Program and Reactions


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Advertise in IAPP Publications

Find out how to get your message in front the people you want to reach. Download a media kit now.

Get more News »

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Network and talk privacy at IAPP KnowledgeNet meetings, taking place worldwide.

Women Leading Privacy

Events, volunteer opportunities and more designed to help you give and get career support and expand your network.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

New Web Conferences Added!

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Staff

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Close-up

Looking for tools and info on a hot topic? Our close-up pages organize it for you in one easy-to-find place.

Where's Your DPA?

Our interactive DPA locator helps you find data protection authorities and summary of law by country.

IAPP Westin Research Center

See the latest original research from the IAPP Westin fellows.

Looking for Certification Study Resources?

Find out what you need to prepare for your exams

More Resources »

GDPR Comprehensive: Registration Open

New! Intensive two-day GDPR training led by the sharpest minds in the field. It's a can't-miss event.

The Congress Is Cancelled

The IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress 2015 is cancelled. Click through to learn more.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

Exhibit at an Event

Put your brand in front of the largest gatherings of privacy pros in the world. Learn more.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»