What if you’ve spent years building a house with every intention of keeping it pristine?
What if you’re a professional builder and you’re also an architect?
What is the law and how does it apply to you?
The NSW Government’s Privacy and Electronic Transactions Amendment (Privacy Act) Bill 2016 has just passed the Senate and will go before Parliament next week.
While it’s been hailed as a major win for privacy advocates, it could also have an impact on people who are building or buying homes.
“You can build and own homes with absolutely no expectation of privacy,” Professor Jual Batik, a researcher with the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF), said.
“It’s not just about privacy but about the way in which we interact with the world.”
He says the legislation will have a significant impact on the construction industry.
“In the case of residential, we will need to think a little bit more about what happens when someone builds and moves into a home.
They can’t just keep it pristine, they’re going to have to get it up and running, which will make it a lot more difficult for people to keep it tidy,” he said.
What’s in the bill?
The bill, known as the Privacy and E-Transport Amendment Act, passed the lower house on Wednesday, and now awaits Senate consideration.
It would give privacy and e-transport regulators more powers to crack down on “fraudulent use” of digital data by construction firms.
It would also include a requirement for construction firms to provide their customers with the “opt-out” option.
It also includes a requirement that contractors who sell their building information to third parties must keep the information secure.
“The privacy act will apply to any activity, including commercial or industrial property, whether in the form of documents, contracts, information, reports, information provided by third parties or otherwise,” the legislation reads.
“If a contractor is in breach of this, the contractor may be required to disclose the information in a way that is reasonable and proportionate to the purpose for which the information was provided.”
Who can access the bill now?
The Privacy and Ethics Bill, or Privacy and Ethical Transactions Bill, is now in the House of Representatives and will be discussed by the House on Wednesday.
The bill contains the most sweeping and intrusive protections for privacy, including an explicit provision that “no person shall disclose, sell, trade or give away” information about a person’s private life unless it is required by law or to protect public health, safety or the safety of others.
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