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Political exemptions to privacy act must be removed in the interest of Australian democracy: Greens

Media Release
Jordon Steele-John 20 Mar 2018

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Australian Greens Digital Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has called for Privacy Act exemptions for political parties and members of parliament to be removed in the interest of Australian democracy.

Senator Steele-John said all political parties must be open, honest and transparent about the data they were using, or paying to access, and in particular about any links with Cambridge Analytica.

“When we’re talking about data mining on this scale and its application to voter-targeting, we’re talking about a very real threat to the integrity of Australian elections.

“Political parties and members of Parliament might be exempt from the privacy act and its consequences, but that does not mean they should be allowed to use private data collected unknowingly or without permission to advance their own interests!

“What is even more concerning is that – despite a lack of permission being granted – Facebook allowed, and possibly still allows, data mining or harvesting on this scale to go on.

“The Australian Greens strongly supported a Private Member’s Bill introduced in 2006 to remove these exemptions, which was opposed by both the Government and opposition at the time.

“The Australian Law Reform Commission recommended in 2008 that politicians and political parties should be subject to the privacy act, as these are the rules we expect the public and private sectors to abide by

“There is need for ongoing review of privacy regulations in Australia, including the collection, storage, and use of personal information by government, corporations and other entities particularly with respect to its impact on the integrity of our democracy.”

Media contact:

Tim Oliver - 0448 316 387

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