Sydney Law School to hear proposals for new digital privacy laws
27 March 2014
Proposals for new laws to protect individuals from invasions of privacy in the digital age will be outlined at the University of Sydney this evening.
New technology allows unprecedented levels of intrusion, surveillance of personal activities and communication of private information but legislation has struggled to keep pace.
Professor Barbara McDonald from the Sydney Law School, who is heading the Inquiry into Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era at the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), will outline how other countries have met these challenges in the first lecture of the 2014 Distinguished Speakers' Program this evening.
"How can the law be one step ahead of emerging technology?" said Professor McDonald.
"Australian law is lagging considerably behind other countries with which we share a common legal heritage and those that come under European Union law. Our common law does not provide an action for deliberate invasions of privacy. Legislation across the country is best described as a patchwork."
"Privacy issues arise from intrusions or surveillance by government, media or activist organizations or data mining by commercial entities. At the individual level, there are concerns about things such as inappropriate use of social media for 'revenge porn', bullying and harassment, or simply surveillance by neighbours."
"At the same time, the law must protect freedom of speech and the many other valuable public interests which often collide with an individual's privacy."
In the Distinguished Speakers' Program lecture, Professor McDonald will also announce the proposals in a new ALRC Discussion Paper. The ALRC will provide a final report to the Attorney-General in June.
The Sydney Law School's Distinguished Speakers' Program brings eminent law professionals from Australia and around the world to share their insight and expertise on special interest topics.
The lecture, Private Lives, Public Spheres, will be held:
TONIGHT, Thursday, 27 MARCH 2014
6.00 - 7.00pm
Faculty Common Room, Lv 4,
New Law School Building, Eastern Ave,
University of Sydney (Camperdown campus)