Australia’s privacy act amendments and Google’s response

The Australian government has suggested a ‘right to be forgotten’ law to modernise the Privacy Act, which would target internet search results including personal information.

Focus on Australia's map

The Australian government has suggested modifications to the Privacy Act to modernise the law. One of the primary suggestions is a ‘right to be forgotten’ law, which would target internet search results, including personal information such as medical history, children’s data, or unduly extensive or irrelevant material.

Google’s Chief Privacy Officer Keith Enright visited Australia and highlighted the focus on digital privacy in the aftermath of massive data breaches at Latitude, Medibank, and Optus. He emphasised increased communication among regulators worldwide about regulating privacy, leading to simplified laws and advanced data protection requirements.

Google considers that when establishing a legal right to remove information from the internet, search engines are inappropriately singled out and that requests should be directed at content publishers rather than search engines because even if it is removed from a search engine, it remains elsewhere.

Google postponed the official release of its AI chatbot Bard in Europe this week due to concerns raised by the Irish Data Protection Commission that insufficient information about Bard’s privacy policy was supplied. Google frequently communicates with the agency about its needs and is currently collaborating with the DPC to address their queries. As regulators worldwide speak more about governing privacy, rules in different regions are becoming simpler.