Australian Banks Claim Data Breach Laws Will Raise Costs for Business

New data breach laws proposed by the Australian government will be bad for the business community, which will be saddled with compliance costs claims the Australian Bankers Association (ABA).

According to the ABA, the Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill extends beyond crackdowns on data breaches overseas and could clash with Australia’s existing information protection laws, which it says are “robust”. The telecommunications carrier industry group is also critical of the bill, which it says would place excessive burdens on the industry.

The bill requires that organisations report breaches in cases that could result in “a real risk of serious harm”, but the banks say the meaning of this is unclear.

“The real cost to banks involved with this legislation is the actual notification to affected customers,” ABA policy director Ian Gilbert declared to the Senate committee.

“The breach may have arisen beyond the bank’s control. For organisations with large customer bases, the notification requirement may result in a disproportionate cost compared with the possible harm caused by the breach.”

Australian business groups also questioning the timing. The Australian government aims to get a raft of laws that affect business through this month’s final sitting of parliament before the 14 September election and currently has a backlog of more than 50 bills.

On the proposed data breach notification law, the banks claim they will often have to seek legal advice on whether to report a breach, and the government’s proposal could also put pressure on the industry’s regulator.

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