Privacy of your customers data


There are no publicity or personality rights in Australia, and there is no right to privacy that protects a person’s image. Existing privacy laws are more concerned with storage and management of personal information and are of limited relevance to protecting invasions of privacy.

The common law position in Australia can be summed up by the words of Chief Justice Latham of the High Court of Australia in Victoria Park Racing & Recreation Grounds Co Ltd v Taylor [1937] HCA 45

“With regard to the question of privacy, no doubt the owner of a house would prefer that a neighbour should not have the right of looking into his windows or yard, but neither this court nor a court of law will interfere on the mere ground of invasion of privacy; and a party has a right even to open new windows, although he is thereby enabled to overlook his neighbour’s premises, and so interfering, perhaps, with his comfort.”

There is no right to privacy at common law in Australia, however one decision does not stand in the path to the development of a cause of action for invasion of privacy or the development of privacy rights from legislative reforms.

The amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) have not created a general right to privacy but have provided an incremental development for privacy of clients and customers of commercial and government authorities from the miss use of their personal information.

The slide presentation, infographic and video links provides an insight into the incremental development of this area of law.

More Australians than ever are concerned about Privacy (inforgraphic)

2014 Privacy Laws Update Slide Presentation

Privacy Laws Update Video

Other legislative increments in this area are as follows:


  • Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  • Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth)
  • National Health Act 1953 (Cth)
  • Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990 (Cth)
  • Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
  • Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth)
  • The Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 (Cth)


New South Wales

  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW)
  • Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW)
  • Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW)
  • State Records Act 1998 (NSW)
  • Criminal Records Act 1991 (NSW)
  • Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW)
  • Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 (NSW)
  • Telecommunications (Interception and Access) (New South Wales) Act 1987 (NSW)
  • Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000 (NSW)
  • Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 (NSW)



  • Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic)
  • Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
  • The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)
  • Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic)
  • Public Records Act 1973 (Vic)
  • Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic)
  • Telecommunications (Interception) (State Provisions) Act 1988 (Vic)



  • Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld)
  • Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld)
  • Public Records Act 2002 (Qld)
  • Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 (Qld)
  • Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld)
  • Whistleblowers Protection Act 1994 (Qld)
  • Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld)
  • Private Employment Agents (Code of Conduct) Regulation 2005 (Qld)


South Australia

  • Freedom of Information Act 1991 (SA)
  • State Records Act 1997 (SA)
  • Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972 (SA)
  • Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1988 (SA)


Western Australia

  • Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA)
  • Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1995 (WA)
  • State Records Act 2000 (WA)
  • Spent Convictions Act 1988 (WA)
  • Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (WA)
  • Telecommunications (Interception) Western Australia Act 1996 (WA)



  • Personal Information Protection Act 2004 (Tas)
  • Right to Information Act 2009 (Tas)
  • Archives Act 1983 (Tas)
  • Annulled Convictions Act 2003 (Tas)
  • Listening Devices Act 1991 (Tas)
  • Telecommunications (Interception) Tasmania Act 1999 (Tas)


Northern Territory

  • Information Act 2002 (NT)
  • Criminal Records (Spent Convictions) Act 1992 (NT)
  • Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NT)
  • Telecommunications (Interception) Northern Territory Act 2001 (NT)


Australian Capital Territory

  • Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  • Australian Capital Territory Government Service (Consequential Provisions) Act 1994 (Cth)
  • Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 (ACT)
  • Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT)
  • Freedom of Information Act 1989 (ACT)
  • Territory Records Act 2002 (ACT)
  • Spent Convictions Act 2000 (ACT)
  • Listening Devices Act 1992 (ACT)