Global Privacy Protection

Global Privacy Protection

The First Generation

Edited by James B. Rule

Global Privacy Protection reviews the origins and history of national privacy codes as social, political and legal phenomena in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, South Korea and the United States. The first chapter reviews key international statements on privacy rights, such as the OECD, EU and APEC principles. In the following chapters, the seven national case studies present and analyze the widest variety of ‘privacy stories’ in an equally varied array of countries. They look beyond the details of what current national data-protection laws allow and prohibit to examine the origins of public concern about privacy; the forces promoting or opposing privacy codes; the roles of media, grassroots activists and elite intervention; and a host of other considerations shaping the present state of privacy protection in each country.

Chapter 5: Privacy in Australia

Graham Greenleaf

Subjects: law - academic, information and media law, politics and public policy, public policy

Extract

Graham Greenleaf INTRODUCTION The defining events in the history of privacy protection in Australia have had a great deal to do with politics, little to do with an orderly process of law reform, and nothing to do with the Courts. FORMATIVE EPISODES, 1987–1992 The Australia Card In June 1987 a Federal Labor Government was triumphantly returned to office after an unprecedented dissolution of both houses of Parliament. That dissolution had been triggered by Opposition rejection of a Bill to introduce a national identity card, the Australia Card. Since the idea of an ID card to combat tax and welfare fraud was first floated in mid-1985, public support had stayed at around 68 per cent. But three months later it was down to 39 per cent and falling, and the intensity of the mounting opposition to the Card astonished everyone. Though it had rarely been a newsworthy item before or during the election, by September the media were preoccupied with the Card. Sydney talk-back radio journalist John Tingle claimed that for some weeks it was impossible to get callers to talk about anything else. The Australian newspaper editorialised (15/9/1987), when letters to the editor were running twenty to one against the Card: There has never been a debate like it in the letters page; there has never been such a cry of opposition from the nation over one topic . . . It has dominated the mailbag to the point where today, for the first time, we present two pages on the topic....

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