New Privacy Law Changes: What They Might Mean to Us Now

Last year, one of our team lost his phone after a work function in the city. After a few drinks, he ended up back at his apartment with little recollection of how he got there. He didn’t know if he’d taken a bus, a train or a taxi. When he woke up he found his keys, wallet, Opal card but no phone. He logged onto his Opal account and found that he had in fact taken a train to his local station. Great, so that’s how he got home. But it doesn’t explain where his phone went. After going onto several sites that claimed they could trace phones, he found it was located somewhere in his suburb. He suspected it was in his apartment. With no way of locating it exactly, he never found the phone.


When he was a child, his dog frequently (and inconveniently) ate his homework. We now believe his current canine is attempting to sabotage the good work of those at FT Adjusting!


Given that both the phone and the documents on the phone are password protected, and he has been notified by his service provider that the phone has not been used on its current SIM, it is reasonable to assume that there is little chance of foul play. It is also unlikely that anything further will eventuate.

Privacy Laws


This is an unfortunate incident and one that we take reasonable steps to avoid, but sometimes things like this happen. Recent amendments made to The Privacy Act mean if an incident like this were to happen now, it would have some serious implications for not only FT but also the insurance companies we are working with.


The key change to this legislation for FT Adjusting, and other Australian Privacy Principle (APP) entities, is the mandatory reporting to clients in the case of an incident such as this. “Where personal information of affected individuals is lost in circumstances that may give rise to unauthorised access or unauthorised disclosure.” We must notify our clients now when any possible breach of data may occur, rather than let them know when a genuine breach has occurred. Of course, data breaches can be malicious, but they certainly aren’t always. Losing your phone at a function, leaving your briefcase on the bus, or forgetting your notes in a public place where someone may gain access to it is a simple slip-up – now with some serious consequences.

Words by Isabelle Laker