OAIC reminds agencies of privacy duties during COVID-19

By Amy Sarcevic
Wednesday, 20 May, 2020

OAIC reminds agencies of privacy duties during COVID-19

Government agencies bound by the Privacy Act 1988 can now get support in meeting their privacy obligations during COVID-19, thanks to a newly published guide by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OAIC).

Maintaining compliance with the Privacy Act has posed a challenge for some agencies during the crisis; particularly those required to exchange sensitive information at a state, national and global level as part of the COVID-19 response. This has been underscored by a shift to remote work, which raises a number of data protection and privacy issues.

To this end, the OAIC guide answers frequently asked questions and offers a step-by-step guide to walk agencies through the Privacy Impact Assessment process.

In a statement, the OAIC acknowledged the difficulties many agencies are facing on this front and said it was doing its best to assist wherever possible.

“We understand agencies and organisations are facing unprecedented challenges in combating the spread of COVID-19,” it said.

“We have released privacy guidance for agencies and private sector employers to help keep workplaces safe and handle personal information appropriately as part of the COVID-19 response.

“We’ve issued detailed advice to help regulated entities assess the privacy risks involved in changed working environments, as many organisations implement or expand remote working arrangements.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Vitalii Vodolaszskyi

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