Privacy complaints skyrocketed in 2013-14, says Pilgrim

DoI set Oz government record for privacy fumbling

Privacy breach complaints in Australia nearly tripled between 2013 and 2014, according to the soon-to-be-defunct Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

The OAIC, canned in the government's 2014 budget, has issued its last annual report, in which it says privacy complaints to Privacy Commissioner Tim Pilgrim rose from 1,496 in 2013 to 4,239 in 2014.

In the absence of mandatory data breach notification, which the government toyed with but abandoned, it's perhaps a small relief that companies are getting more willing to make data breach notifications. In the report, Pilgrim writes that the number of voluntary notifications by entities rise 16 per cent in the year to 71. That, in turn, helped cut the number of investigations Pilgrim had to initiate.

Just over 900 of those were complaints made by individuals after the Immigration Department's egregious howler in February, when it failed to properly redact data when converting an Excel spreadsheet into a PDF (that discovery won an Amnesty award in print journalism for its discoverer Asher Wolf and two Guardian journalists Oliver Laughland and Paul Farrell).

The other three leading outfits for breach complaints were credit outfit Veda which gave rise to 484 privacy complaints, Cbus Superannuation (340) and ANZ Bank with 104. ®


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