The Senate has backed a motion from Greens senator Jordon Steele-John to improve Australia’s privacy regulations and bring local laws up to the level of the European Union.
Steele-John today moved that the federal government strengthen the protections in the Privacy Act, which he said were “woefully inadequate”.
He called on the government to “consider the impact of Australia’s insufficient and outdated privacy laws”, looking at the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a model of “as a potential model for privacy protection”.
The GDPR will come into effect on May 25, and is one of the single biggest shake-up of privacy rules since 1995.
Steele-John first put the motion to the Senate in March, but it was opposed.
But in light of the of the Cambridge Analytics Facebook data scandal, the Senate today passed the motion.
“I am heartened that the Senate has now backflipped on their earlier position and supported, in principle, a move towards the European standard of online privacy protection and current world best practice,” he said.
“There is need for urgent review of privacy regulations in Australia, including the collection, storage, and use of personal information by government, corporations and other entities particularly with respect to its impact on the integrity of our democracy.”