Monday 24 June 2024

An overview of privacy law

By Stephen von Muenster, Partner, Von Muenster Legal.

We are currently living in an era defined by a digital and AI revolution. Businesses operating in the realm of advertising and communications have found themselves at the forefront of a rapidly evolving landscape. The advent of digital platforms and services has not only revolutionised the way brands engage with consumers but has also brought forth a host of challenges pertaining to consumer privacy, competition, and regulatory oversight.

Before the release of comprehensive inquiries such as the Digital Platforms Inquiry and its related inquiries, the industry grappled with a myriad of personal privacy uncertainties and issues exacerbated by an uncertain regulatory regimes, the unrestrained dominance of tech giants and their unchecked use and proliferation of user data.

Prior to the initiation of the Digital Platforms Inquiry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 2017, businesses in the advertising and communications sector were confronted with escalating concerns from their clients, regulators and customers regarding the protection of personal privacy in the digital sphere.

The pervasive collection and utilisation of consumer data by digital platforms, coupled with opaque privacy policies and disclosures hiding under many folds and lax regulatory frameworks, engendered a climate of uncertainty and apprehension among both businesses and consumers. High profile instances of data breaches, unauthorized access to personal information, and the commodification of user data for targeted advertising underscored the urgent need for regulatory intervention to safeguard individual privacy rights and restore trust in the digital ecosystem.

In the latest factsheet on privacy law for Advertising Council Australia, we summarise where the various government inquiries are at now, identify the limited law reform that has occurred to date and the new laws that are expected in the near future. While we are yet to see substantial draft or final legislation reforming consumer and privacy laws, we offer some suggestions for agencies to forward plan and prepare their people, systems and organisations for the new laws when they arrive in the near future.

We also suggest some steps agencies may consider taking now to minimise risk to agencies and harm to consumers by protecting confidential information and data.

Agencies that embrace what is to come and prepare their people, systems and organisations will have a commercial advantage when the new laws arrive.


ACA members can access Stephen’s full update/factsheet on the Legal page of ACA’s Member Hub. E-mail if you need your login password resent to you.

Recent news