21 December 2012


The Victorian Attorney-General has announced "reforms to strengthen data security and the privacy and protection of personal information within the Victorian public sector".
The new Privacy and Data Protection Commissioner will be responsible for oversight of the current Victorian privacy and law enforcement data security regimes, as well as the implementation of a new Victorian Protective Security Policy Framework (VPSPF).
The VPSPF will involve a new classification and information security framework for information held by government departments and agencies.
 The new office of the Privacy & Data Protection Commissioner will "bring together the skills and resources of the Privacy Commissioner and the Commissioner for Law Enforcement Data Security", with the agency "having responsibility for oversight of the current privacy regime and Victoria Police law enforcement data security, and for implementing and monitoring compliance with the new VPSPF".

The Attorney-General indicates  that  an integrated, whole of government approach to data security, including protective security, is an essential part of strengthening the privacy and protection of personal information handled by and on behalf of the Victorian public sector.

No comment, of course, on concerns that one of the more engaged privacy bodies - a benchmark for the more torpid, indeed timid, OAIC - will lose momentum.

The  Attorney-General claims that -
"This new combined oversight role will be better able to respond the new and emerging challenges affecting information privacy and data protection, including those identified by the Victorian Auditor-General in his 2009 Report on Maintaining the Integrity and Confidentiality of Personal Information.
The Government committed prior to the 2010 election to strengthening the protection of citizens' private information from inappropriate collection or use by government, and this reform is part of delivering on that commitment.
The reform creates a more streamlined system that will have broader and more comprehensive oversight of the privacy and information security regime for the Victorian public sector.
At the same time, the Victorian Government is responding to trends worldwide towards more open access to information, which the Government has endorsed through its DataVic Access Policy.
These changes will supposedly "not alter any legal obligations under the Victorian privacy regime or under the law enforcement data security regime". Legislation to establish the new Privacy and Data Security Commissioner will be introduced into Parliament in 2013. Given the Government's discomfort regarding human rights legislation let's not hold our breath before reading the Bill.