New Australian privacy laws come into effect

New amendments to the Australian Privacy Act officially came into effect today (March 12), and recruitment companies would be wise to take a close look at their obligations when it comes to ensuring the security of candidate and client data. 

The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Privacy Amendment Act) has made a number of significant alterations to the original 1998 Privacy Act.

Most notably, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) now has far greater power when it comes to assessing privacy compliance and seeking civil penalties for significant privacy breach cases. 

Individuals found to be in breach of the act could now be liable for penalties of up to $340,000, while companies may be hit with penalties of as much as $1.7 million – and the potential financial repercussions don't just end there. 

According to information technology and telecommunications law expert Patrick Fair, companies that allow a data breach to take place could also be hit with the substantial cost of ongoing audits.

"For larger corporations the cost can be very high, because you have so many points of collection and multiple layered databases with different information stored in different places," Mr Fair told Computerworld Australia in a March 11 article.

Information security should be a critical concern of any recruitment agency that stores extensive amounts of candidate and client data.

Keep in mind that maintaining information privacy requires vigilance not just against outside threats and cyber criminals, but also protecting confidential data from internal risks.

That's one of the reasons why payroll software that offers user ID and password security can be such a valuable asset. 

With multiple levels of access for things like time sheet input and payroll records, payroll efficiency software can help ensure that the privacy of your candidates and clients is maintained and that potentially exploitable information is kept away from prying eyes. 

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