Privacy then and now

Guest blog post David Taylor, Director Privacy Awareness, Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner

(Photo: Data trails in the cloud)

The 1st September 2011 will mark the tenth anniversary of the commencement of the Victorian Information Privacy Act 2000 (‘IPA’).

The law requires Victorian Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, the State public sector, Victoria Police and local councils to protect the privacy of personal information they have collected.

Ten Information Privacy Principles are the practical core of the IPA. With limited exceptions, all Victorian government organisations, including local councils, must comply with these principles. Non-government organisations that work for government under contract may also be covered, depending on the contract.

The IPA came into being just before the events of 11 September 2001 and the legal and social fallout from the events of that day continues unabated. Since 2001 the world has witnessed cataclysmic shifts in the ability of organisations and individuals to collect, publish, store, data match and share personal information. Processes which were once the domain of white-coated technicians working in airtight computer laboratories are now the province of primary school children who swipe their laptops in class and who don’t leave home without a mobile phone. Citizen journalists now record English rioters and Middle East protestors with ease, immediately posting their photographs and commentary for a global audience. Biometric technologies creep ever closer and all Australians now have a unique healthcare identifier. Airport scanners, Myki cards, cloud computing, ‘big data’, big data breaches…

Ten years has clearly been a long time in privacy. To mark this milestone, Privacy Victoria is holding a free public forum in Melbourne on 1st September 2011.

The tenth birthday is a time to look back at how this new law was introduced and implemented by the newly established Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner.

Paul Chadwick, Victoria’s first Privacy Commissioner will speak at the forum.

His presentation will be followed by Brave New World or 1984? An expert panel will discuss the many privacy issues affecting the Victorian public sector and wider community since 1 September 2001.


• Michael Gawenda, former editor of The Age and inaugural Director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism at the University of Melbourne
• Anna Johnston, former Deputy Privacy Commissioner (NSW) and privacy consultant
• Nigel Waters, privacy advocate and consultant
• Sassoon Grigorian, Manager, Government Affairs, Microsoft Australia
• Dr Bridget Bainbridge, involved in drafting the IPA

Date:  Thursday, 1 September 2011
Time:  10.30am - 12.30pm (registration and refreshments from 10.00am)
Venue: Theatrette, Spring Street Conference Centre, 1 Spring Street Melbourne.
Cost: Free.

Register by clicking here.

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