Do you know what your privacy rights are?

This week is Privacy Awareness Week. Remember the recent phone hacking scandal in the UK? While our voice mail messages are unlikely to attract the paparazzi’s attention the fall out certainly got us thinking about our privacy and how we tend to take it for granted. So what does privacy actually mean for you? David Taylor, Director of Privacy Awareness at Privacy Victoria, tells us about your privacy rights. 

paw_2013_banner_3Privacy is often in the news – it could be because an unhappy celebrity was photographed by paparazzi when they would have preferred they weren’t, the latest social media-gone-wrong story or a hacked database of customer information lost to fraudsters.

Privacy means different things to different people, but one thing each meaning has in common is that once your privacy is gone, it’s gone forever. And this loss of privacy might take an emotional , and possibly financial, toll.

Today, more than ever, technology is rapidly transforming the way we live our lives, and with the benefits of new technologies being used by people, government and business come an increasing number of privacy risks. So it is important to understand what these risks are and what you can do to protect the privacy of your personal information. But also, by understanding what your privacy rights are and what you can do if you have a privacy problem you are in a much better position to ensure your personal information is protected.

Privacy laws protect the privacy of personal information, including health information. Privacy laws apply to big business, federal, state and local government and anyone who holds health information. They do not apply to small business or to individuals acting in a private capacity.

When an organisation covered by privacy laws asks you for your information, you have the right to know:

•        who is collecting the information
•        what it will be used for
•        whether the collection is required by law
•        how you can get access to the information
•        who else usually has access to the information
•        what the main consequences, if any, are for you if you do not provide the information.

You also have the right to make a complaint if you believe an organisation has breached your privacy.

To learn more come along to a free public forum during Law Week on Friday 17 May. The forum will explain the privacy laws affecting Victorians, how they work and the rights they give you. You will be able to ask questions and there will be time for general discussion. Bookings are essential as space is limited.

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