National Data Security Action Plan Discussion Paper
17 June 2022
The Law Council of Australia's submission to the Department of Home Affairs’ Discussion Paper is in relation to the proposed National Data Security Action Plan (Action Plan).
The Law Council commends the Department of Home Affairs for seeking to constructively engage with stakeholders to inform the development of the Action Plan, and the Law Council welcomes the opportunity to continue to engage with the Department as work on the Action Plan progresses.
The Law Council recognises that data and privacy concerns have been the focus of several recent consultations to address prominent vulnerabilities, including:
- the Department of Home Affairs’ Discussion Paper released in July 2021 (‘Strengthening Australia’s Cyber Security Regulations and Incentives’);
- the Department of Home Affairs’ consultation on the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure Protection) Bill 2022;
- the Attorney-General’s Department’s consultation on the Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enhancing Online Privacy and Other Measures) Bill 2021; and
- the Attorney-General’s Department’s ongoing review of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act).
While these consultations focus on different aspects of privacy, data and security in the Australian context, the Law Council is of the strong view that a complementary and holistic approach is important to avoid fragmentation in the reform process and to improve transparency for consumers and regulatory consistency for organisations. This is particularly the case in relation to the review of the Privacy Act where there will be significant policy benefits to aligning respective efforts and ensuring there is a coherent approach to data management and regulation.
The Law Council agrees that as Australia’s economy and society continues to digitise, facilitating a proliferation of data and information, it is increasingly critical to ensure that Australian governments, businesses and individuals know how their data is managed, stored and secured.5 The Law Council accordingly supports the development of the Action Plan and welcomes its stated intent of simplifying, educating and improving national data security.
This submission predominately draws upon positions previously provided by the Law Council in the course of the above consultations, supplemented by recent contributions from its membership to respond to Discussion Paper Questions 2, 6, 8 and 12.