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Government must acknowledge the data environment has changed and repeal Section 7c: Greens

Media Release
Jordon Steele-John 22 Mar 2018

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Australian Greens have called on the government to acknowledge the data environment has changed significantly in the last 18 years and repeal section 7c of the Privacy Act, amid concerns around privacy and the integrity of Australian elections.

Yesterday, both the government and opposition voted down a Greens motion condemning Cambridge Analytica, and calling for a review of privacy regulations in Australia including the removal of absolute exemptions in the privacy act for politicians and political parties.

In question time today, Digital Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John called on the Government to explain their opposition.

“The first question that comes to my mind is ‘Why does the government maintain that this exemption is appropriate in the modern data environment, and what have they got to hide?’” Senator Steele-John said.

“The Greens have never supported section 7c of the Privacy Act because it is a legislated threat to the integrity of our democracy and to the rights of all Australian citizens.

“Whilst it’s likely that all political parties use databases to engage with their voters and constituents, they are exempt from privacy laws so there is no transparency – and this exemption extends to third parties like Cambridge Analytica who might have much more extensive and intrusive databases.

“At the end of the day Facebook is a big part of the problem and must take responsibility here; they have allowed personal information to be mined without the consent of Facebook users and this data is now within the reach of entities looking to influence politics in Australia."

Media Contact:

Tim Oliver - 0448 316 387

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