SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Australia catches up: Mandatory data breach reporting bill finally reaches Senate

By Sara Barker
Mon 13 Feb 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Australia is finally seeing progression on the mandatory data breach notification laws, as the bill passed the House of Representatives last week and is now before the Senate.

The Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 aims to provide a legal requirement in data breach events that will see organisations provide notice to regulators and affected individuals.

The Bill cites international trends and developments from both New Zealand and the European Union where similar breach reporting legislation has been enacted.

In the 2015-2016 year, 107 voluntary data breach notifications were published, up from just 44 in 2009-2010.

In the The Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016, breach reporting requirements are only required “if the data breach meets a specified harm threshold”.

“Examples of when data breach notification may be required could include a malicious breach of the secure storage and handling of information (e.g. in a cyber security incident), an accidental loss (most commonly of IT equipment or hard copy documents), a negligent or improper disclosure of information, or otherwise, where the incident satisfies the applicable harm threshold (if any),” the Bill says.

Those harm thresholds are to do with what the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) calls ‘real risk of serious harm’, which includes serious physical, psychological, emotional, economic and financial harm.

These are in addition to reputational harm and other forms that could be a possible outcome of the breach, such as unauthorised access, disclosure or loss of personal information – particularly noted in the case of health or sensitive information.

However, the bill says that not every data breach will be subject to notification requirements. Minor breaches would not be worth the time and administrative effort, ‘notification fatigue’ for individuals, and no need for harm mitigation to take place.

Companies that jointly hold information records (for example outsourcing, joint ventures or shared services) are also both subject to breach notification.

The Bill goes into detail about requirements and exceptions, including how and if organisations have taken remedial action, and whether that action is likely to result in serious harm.

“The exception also applies where remedial action has prevented a loss of information from leading to an unauthorised access or disclosure. If remedial action following an access or disclosure would lead a reasonable person to conclude that only particular individuals within a broader group are not likely to be at risk of serious harm following the remedial action, the entity is not required to notify those particular individuals (but would still be required to notify the remainder of the individuals),” the Bill says.

The Bill also highlights the problem of identity crime, which has an annual economic impact of around $2 billion. This crime affects 4-5% of Australians each year, and as a result experience financial loss.  

Webroot’s senior information security analyst Dan Slattery says the company welcomes the Bill.

"Webroot welcomes the news that mandatory data breach notification laws have passed through the House of Representatives. At a time when cyber threats are increasingly becoming more prominent and complex, Australians should not be left in the dark when it comes to personal information," he says.

"When consumers have entrusted their personal data with the assumption that their information will be protected, they deserve to know when there has been a breach. Many Australians already have a hard enough time keeping their personal devices secure,” Slattery says.

Rajiv Shah, director of Cyber, Intelligence and Security at BAE systems, also approves the Bill. 

“The passing of the Notifiable Data Breaches Bill by the Senate provides much needed clarity on the responsibilities of organisations and should kick-start a culture of information sharing needed to defend against cyber criminals. The Notifiable Data Breaches Bill shows clear leadership, crucial to breaking down an existing culture of denial as to the scope and scale of cyber-attacks, which is hampering efforts to combat the activities of cyber criminals," Shah says.

“Ultimately, what we have is a well-balanced privacy framework which provides a more transparent environment for Australians to entrust their personal information to organisations," Shah concludes.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Cybersecurity
BlackBerry offers Kaspersky replacement cybersecurity for the channel
BlackBerry advises that users of Kaspersky software in Australia and New Zealand undertake a rigorous risk analysis of their current security posture.
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Physical security systems guide the hybrid workplace to new heights
Organisations are reviewing how data gathered from their physical security systems can optimise, protect and enhance their business operations in unique ways.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Qualys
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Ransomware
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
SaaS
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Phishing
KnowBe4 celebrates reaching 50,000 customers worldwide
KnowBe4 has reached the milestone of 50,000 customers, adding nearly 2,500 in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
trust
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Noname Security partners with Netpoleon to target API issues
Specialist API security firm Noname Security has appointed Netpoleon as its distributor in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Infoblox's State of Security Report spotlights Australian remote work hazards
Attackers exploit weak WiFi, remote endpoints, and the cloud, costing 50% of organisations over $1.3 million in breach damages.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.