"If my birth date and credit card details get into the hands of hackers I want to know about it so I can take steps to protect myself, such as closing the credit card account. And then I will stop doing business with the company that couldn't be bothered to protect my data."
The EFA's move follows the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) this week releasing updated guidelines that are designed to assist organisations dealing with a data breach and that provide advice on preventative measures.
The Australian Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan, was also reported this week saying there was "strong support for the notion that the Government must treat data breach notification as a mandatory process," and that "Internationally, the tide is moving in this direction."
EFA says that, in 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission proposed many changes to the Privacy Act, including mandatory data breach notification. However, "The Prime Minister and Cabinet grouped mandatory data breach notification into the second set of Privacy Act changes to make, and no action date has yet been provided."
According to EFA, a number of major organisations have stated opposition to mandatory notification, asserting instead that voluntary data breach notification is sufficient.
"A number of high-profile data breaches have taken place in recent months, affecting businesses including Telstra, First Super, ANZ Bank and the global Sony Playstation network, and Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has said that there is evidence to suggest that data breaches are on the rise," EFA said.
It quoted Pilgrim saying: "The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was notified of 56 data breaches in the last financial year, equivalent to a data breach a week. This is up from 44 in the previous year, an increase of 27 percent."
However, the Privacy Commissioner also noted that he opened a further 59 investigations into other breaches where he wasn't notified of the incident."
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