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New EU data protection laws and Australian businesses

21 May, 2018

On May 25 the European Union will introduce the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is intended to protect EU residents from the negative affects associated with the collection of personal data.

The monetization of data, which has exploded in recent years, crosses national boundaries. Therefore the new regulations are not aimed only at European-based businesses but also those based abroad (including in Australia).

Broadly, the GDPR will affect all Australian business of any size that have an establishment in the EU, offer goods and services in the EU, or deal with the personal data of EU residents.

Australia has its own privacy regulation, the Australian Privacy Act 1988, which covers personal data. However, there are differences between this and the GDPR. For example, unlike the Privacy Act, the new EU regulation includes “the right to be forgotten”.

Australian businesses affected by the new regulation should therefore act now and update their Privacy Policies so they comply. Failure to do so can result in fines up to €20 million or 4 per cent of the business’ annual global turnover of the business, so now is the time to act.

Contact your legal counsel for more information.

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