New privacy guidelines to help during COVID-19

By Amy Sarcevic
Wednesday, 06 May, 2020

New privacy guidelines to help during COVID-19

Organisations grappling with increased data protection and privacy issues during COVID-19 can now access detailed advice, thanks to a newly published guide from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

Addressing the challenges of COVID-19 has thrown up a number of difficulties for agencies and businesses regulated by the Privacy Act 1988.

As part of a necessary coordinated response to curb the pandemic spread, organisations and governments have been required to share personal information at a national and global level.

An abrupt shift to remote work has also heightened data protection and privacy concerns, with work-from-home tools and unattended enterprise data centres both vulnerable to attack campaigns.

The OAIC’s guide outlines best practice measures and answers frequently asked questions, to help keep workplaces safe and handle personal information appropriately, as part of the COVID-19 response.

In addition, a step-by-step tool that guides organisations through the Privacy Impact Assessment process is now available for download.

The Executive Committee of the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) said it recognises the unprecedented challenges being faced to address the spread of COVID-19, but is confident data protection requirements will not stop critical information sharing.

“The universal data protection principles in all our laws will enable the use of data in the public interest and still provide the protections the public expects. Data protection authorities stand ready to help facilitate swift and safe data sharing to fight COVID-19,” it said in a statement.

Image credit: ©

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