Privacy law changes: Key actions to ensure compliance

Publication April 2017

What do you need to do to prepare for the new data breach notification laws?

A new age for data privacy in Australia will begin on 22 February 2018. Recent legislation regarding mandatory data breach notification has two direct consequences for all Australian companies with an annual turnover exceeding $3 million:

  • companies will need to inform all third parties affected by an eligible data breach.
  • organisations may be held liable for breaches occurring across their supply chain.

The implications are numerous for the main guardians of data privacy policies and compliance: general counsel and legal officers alike will need to keep in mind the possibility of class actions in relation to breaches, a million dollar-plus price tag for non-compliance, and a more stringent vendor selection and management process.


Privacy Compliance Manual Infographic 10 year comparison 



Case study: What happens when a privacy data breach occurs in the lab?

FutureStem* is a life sciences research and development lab. The $10 million annual revenue innovation hub has multiple partnerships with global players in the sector, but maintains a lean, independent structure. It relies on a third-party facility for a variety of analyses, and thus shares a large portion of its testing information.

But what if the third party testing facility suffered a data breach, and personal information related to FutureStem’s research projects were stolen and posted on social media sites?

in 2017 2018 FutureStem...
May not have had to notify impacted individuals. Might pay between $350,000 and $1.8 million in fines AND notification costs to all impacted individuals in addition to other breach-related costs (crisis management, breach recovery and reputational damage).
No notice given, therefore no personal complaints, and no legal action. Might face a class action suit by subjects included in the research, and further legal action by its corporate partners and sponsors.
Would have not been held liable for the data breach within its supply chain. Would be held liable for the breach, and face an enquiry over data privacy compliance across its supply chain. Also the third-party facility would be obliged to notify impacted individuals.

 *this is a hypothetical example.

There are practical steps that a business of any size can take to ensure compliance with the new laws, assess its supply chain, and prepare for the eventuality of a breach.

Click here to learn more about our affordable and comprehensive compliance packages.

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