15.1 This chapter sets out proposals and questions about new regulatory mechanisms to reduce and redress serious invasions of privacy. The new regulatory powers proposed in this chapter are not intended to be an alternative to the new tort. The ALRC considers that these powers could operate alongside the new tort.
15.2 Two regulatory bodies are considered. The first is the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) which has powers relating to the broadcast media under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth). The second is the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) which has powers relating to information privacy under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
15.3 In this chapter, the ALRC first proposes that the ACMA be empowered to make a determination that a complainant should be compensated where a broadcaster’s conduct amounts to a serious invasion of the complainant’s privacy in breach of a broadcasting code of practice. The proposed new power of the ACMA would be similar to existing powers of the OAIC.
15.4 Secondly, the ALRC proposes the introduction of a new Australian Privacy Principle (APP) which would require APP entities to take reasonable steps to delete personal information about an individual on request. The ALRC has also asked a question about a possible take-down system that would empower a regulator to require an organisation to remove information about an individual from a website or online service, where the publication of that information is a serious invasion of privacy. The regulator would be required to have regard to freedom of expression and other public interests. This may be a fast, low-cost mechanism to limit the risk, extent, and harm of a serious invasion of privacy.
15.5 Thirdly, the ALRC proposes that the statutory functions of the Australian Information Commissioner be amended to include acting as amicus curiae and intervening in appropriate court proceedings, with leave of the court.
15.6 In this chapter, the ALRC also discusses the small business exemption to the Privacy Act and an extended complaints process for the OAIC.