find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Adelaide CBD · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
Freelance Project Finance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Australia
· Vario are looking for freelance lawyers with experience in project finance ideally within the renewable energy sector
View details
Vario Freelance Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Australia
· We are looking for lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Freelance Construction Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· We are looking for construction lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Privacy strategy lucrative for lawyers

Privacy strategy lucrative for lawyers

Lawyers will cash in if Australia adopts the US tactic of prosecuting businesses under unfair trade laws if they breach their own privacy policies, a privacy expert has claimed.

US authorities are evoking legislation similar to Australian Consumer Law in privacy matters, revealed DLA Piper partner Alec Christie (pictured). He explained that businesses that don’t comply with their own privacy policies face charges of misleading or deceptive conduct under the country’s unfair trade laws.

Christie learnt of the strategy at the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Privacy Academy held in California in October. He told Lawyers Weekly that it provides “a direct route for consumers to seek redress for privacy breaches”, rather than having to rely on toothless privacy laws that are failing to keep up with technology.

Australia’s Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012 currently before Parliament will, if passed, introduce fines of up to $220,000 for an individual and up to $1.1 million for an organisation, but only covers “a serious invasion or repeated invasions of privacy”, said Christie.

Under Section 18 of Australian Consumer Law, however, consumers can seek remedies (e.g. injunctions and damages) for misleading or deceptive conduct without having to meet a threshold of severity.

“Consumer law has a lot more potential teeth than current and possibly the future regime under privacy where you have to demonstrate serious breaches,” Christie said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which regulates consumer law, may be a more intimidating watchdog than the privacy commissioner, but it is unlikely to move into this space, according to Christie. He predicts that consumer groups will more likely be the instigators of legal action against businesses, which translates into more work for lawyers on both sides.

Most legal action in California has centred on the statement that a business will take “reasonable measures” to protect information provided to it, a term commonly used in Australian privacy policies. In cases of a data breach, the courts have held that, if an investigation finds the company’s security measures were inadequate, “reasonable measures” is an unfair or misleading statement.

Christie, whose corporate clients could be on the receiving end of a lawsuit, is warning businesses to ensure they have the necessary checks and balances in place to ensure privacy policies are implemented.

“If they prepare and implement privacy policies there will hopefully be little scope for this kind of action,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Privacy strategy lucrative for lawyers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Jan 23 2018
Disrupting traditional archiving and storage methods
Promoted by Fileman TRENDS COME and go but technology and its disruption to the legal landscape h...
Scales of Justice
Jan 23 2018
WA to close ‘legal loophole’ on gender reassignment laws
Laws in Western Australia will soon change to permit married people to undergo gender reassignment s...
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
Jan 22 2018
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
The #mypathtolaw hashtag has been embraced by legal eagles to swap stories with the Twitter communit...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...