For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice (ALRC Report 108)

ALRC Report 108 (tabled August 2008) represents the culmination of a 28-month inquiry into the extent to which the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and related laws continue to provide an effective framework for the protection of privacy in Australia.

This Inquiry resulted in a three-volume report, containing 74 chapters and 295 recommendations for reform.

The central theme in For Your Information is that, as a recognised human right, privacy protection generally should take precedence over a range of other countervailing interests, such as cost and convenience. It is often the case, however, that privacy rights will clash with a range of other individual rights and collective interests, such as freedom of expression and national security. International instruments on human rights, and the growing international and domestic jurisprudence in this field, all recognise that privacy protection is not an absolute. Where circumstances require, the vindication of individual rights must be balanced carefully against other competing rights—the ALRC’s final recommendations in ALRC 108 endeavour to do so.