Australian Council on Children and the Media

Editorial: Improving Australia's poor privacy protections December 10, 2020

 

ACCM’s submission to the Attorney -General’s review of the Privacy Act (see small screen page one story) included the following concerns:

  • THE ‘digital footprint’ of children under 15: Privacy law must regulate what data may be collected, used and disseminated by entities that engage directly with children and also provide for a pro- consumer right to erasure of data.
  • RELIANCE on ‘consent’ provisions for children under 15: Children under 15 are not able to consent to disclose information, in spite of a community understanding in Australia that many children from age 13 are regularly independently engaged online.
  • THAT enforcement of privacy law only responds to, but does not prevent, breaches of privacy; there must be explicit dissemination of information to community groups about exemptions to privacy law and transparency about information collected, used and disseminated.ACCM also noted:
  • THE Act does not currently strike the right balance between the use of personal information in relation to direct marketing, particularly in relation to direct marketing to children. The vulnerability of children to direct marketing needs to be acknowledged and fully weighted when redrawing this balance.
  • THE act or practice of entities collecting, using and disclosing personal information in relation to persons under 15 for the purpose of direct marketing should be prohibited, regardless of consent.
  • THERE is a greater need for harmony of privacy protection under Commonwealth law with all state law provisions in relating to children under 15.ACCM will be working intensively in the field of children’s online privacy issues over the next six to 12 months.

As part of our current projects, we are surveying parents’ views of the apps that their children play, with special reference to privacy issues. You can assist us by completing this survey by Dec 14.

 

Watch this space for updates.