Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Australians must be told when personal details go offshore.



Download PDFDownload PDF

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP

AUSTRALIANS MUST BE TOLD WHEN PERSONAL DETAILS GO OFFSHORE

I call on John Howard to ensure the families of middle Australia have the right to know when their personal details are sent offshore.

Information at risk could include their bank account, credit card, and health insurance details.

When businesses seek savings by offshoring jobs to overseas data processing centres, it’s only reasonable that their Australian customers are told.

That way, consumers can stay in control of their personal data, and make informed choices about which businesses they want to deal with.

Media reports this year have highlighted the increased risks to the privacy of Australian consumers overseas through data processing centres.

While some businesses currently mention their overseas data processing in their privacy policies, there is no way for Australians to be sure whether or not this is happening.

That means businesses are able to make whatever confidential arrangements they like for processing personal data in countries such as India and China - without ever informing their customers.

Australian consumers can be left vulnerable to having their data lost, stolen or mishandled - since many of these countries have little or no laws to protect the personal information of Australian customers.

Labor will consult with businesses on the best way to ensure Australians know when their details are being sent offshore.

In the meantime, the Government must act, so consumers know where their details are going.

One way is through an amendment to the Privacy Act, requiring that when businesses first collect information from consumers, they inform consumers if their personal information will be sent overseas.

This once-off notification could fit into the standard privacy notices that customers are given when they provide personal details to businesses.

Disclosure, transparency and consumer choice are fundamental principles of making markets operate efficiently and in the interests of middle Australia.

PERTH OCTOBER 6 2006

Contact: George Svigos 0417 196 836