The Attorney-General has asked the ALRC to make recommendations regarding how invasions of privacy may be prevented in the digital era and to design a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy.  Given historical divergence of opinion on these issues and some high profile complaints about breach of privacy, it will be interesting to see what the ALRC recommends in its report which is due in June 2014.

In light of changing perceptions of community privacy and the rapid growth in information technology capabilities, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC MP has referred the issue of prevention of, and remedies for, serious invasions of privacy in the digital era to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC). 

An earlier ALRC report in 2008 made it clear that there was little consensus on how, and whether, a legal right to sue for breach of privacy should be created. 

The new terms of reference ask the ALRC to make recommendations regarding:

  • innovative ways for the law to reduce invasion of privacy in the digital era;
  • the necessity of balancing the value of privacy with other fundamental values including freedom of expression and open justice;
  • a detailed design of a statutory cause of action for serious causes of action; and
  • the nature and appropriateness of any other legal remedies for serious invasions of privacy.

The ALRC will provide its final report to the Attorney-General by June 2014.

See Terms of Reference and the Attorney-General’s media release dated 12 June 2013.