The number of privacy-related complaints made by Australians has increased 12% in 2018-19 to 3,306.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has revealed that the increase is said to be due to the privacy policies and practices driven by the finance industry, health service providers, the telco industry, Australian government entities, retail and online services.
The finance industry accounted for 13% of total complaints, whilst Australian government entities accounted for 12% of complaints, followed by health service providers (10%) and telecommunications (7%).
The OAIC’s annual report, revealed that the most common issues raised were about use and disclosure, security, collection, access and the quality of personal information.
Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk told Senate Estimates: “We can see globally the use of personal information increasing exponentially — and of course there’s great economic benefits to be achieved by the use of personal information, but at the same time, it needs to be kept secure and handled appropriately.
“In terms of the online environment, there were a number of incidents that have occurred that have heightened the community’s awareness to the collection of personal information, some relating to Facebook for example, and also the ACCC has conducted an extensive enquiry into digital platforms.”
Although 3,306 complaints were made during the financial year, just 2,920 had been finalised – with the average time to resolve complaints being 4.4 months. Additionally, the OAIC handled 17,445 privacy enquiries.
The number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests has increased by almost half in 2018-2019 to 2,881, and applications for an IC review FOI decisions has increased by almost 16% to 925.
Between 2018-19, the top five agencies involved in IC reviews were Home Affairs with 198, Human Services with 104, Veterans’ Affairs (47), the Australian Federal Police (46), and the Department of Defence (44).
It is evident that more staff are required as concerns have been raised regarding the department being too under-resourced. With more staff, more IC reviews can be reviewed quicker.
“Across our core functions, we continued to seek ways to improve our efficiency and effectiveness so we can meet the community’s needs. Through our strategic priorities, we are working on behalf of the Australian community to achieve our long-term vision of increasing public trust and confidence in the protection of personal information and access to government-held information,” said Falk.
The post #Privacy: Over 3,000 privacy complaints were made by Australians last year appeared first on PrivSec Report.