The Australian Consumers’ Association (ACA) said this week that national privacy legislation could not handle the challenges posed by modern e-mail, and that the public e-mail space may have been permanently corrupted with spam. The comments came in a submission the ACA made to an inquiry that the Federal Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee is currently carrying out into the Privacy Act 1988. The inquiry will examine the Act’s effectiveness in protecting privacy, particularly with reference to new and emerging technologies like Smart Cards, biometric imaging, genetic testing and in-body implanted microchips. The ACA pointed out in its submission that although the Act had initially aimed at implementing technologically neutral rules, developments like e-mail have “consistently created the desire to be specific about aspects of the technology”. With respect to e-mail, the ACA said, privacy legislation in Australia had failed in several key areas. “The need to seek consent before [carrying out] electronic messaging, the need for functional unsubscribe facilities, and the need for accurate and specific identification in the course of all commercial electronic messaging” were all needs not met under current legislation. The ACA said these requirements had emerged “from the realisation that electronic messaging couldn’t work… Read full this story
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