Australian Broker TV

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The Privacy Act changes and You

With the amendments to the Privacy Act looming Australian Broker TV speaks to Jon Denovan of Gadens Lawyers about what the changes mean for brokers and how they can prepare.

Video transcript below:

Jon Denovan, Gadens Lawyers
Jon Denovan:
 The big difference about the privacy act is that we have got big penalties.  The penalties are now $1.7 million.  For some reason the government has a fine $1.7 million for everything which is extraordinary because poisoning a public water supply is only $5600, so we need to get in and poison a few public water supplies while the going is still good.  Anyway so there is not only the penalties but there is these more active regulators, so we don’t know what the Privacy Commissioner is going to be like, but they could come knocking on your door.

Reporter:  As the amendments to the privacy act loom on the horizon, Jon Denovan of Gadens Lawyers explains what brokers should be aware of and what they should be doing to prepare.  Denovan one notes that really there are still two parts to the amendments.

Jon Denovan:  The thing about the new privacy rules is that there are still two bits to them.  There’s the bit about protecting individual information and there’s the bit about credit reports and credit information.  And really confusingly when they talk about personal information, they’re talking about both bits.  You would think the personal information was in my name, but no personal information is both identity information and credit information.

If I was a broker what would I do.  Well if I have got a website, I’ve got to have my privacy policy on the website, it’s a dead giveaway if I haven’t got a privacy policy.  The MFAA has got one that will work for most small businesses.  Pop it up on your website.  After you have got your privacy policy on the website you need to make sure you got the new privacy consent.  The privacy consents haven’t changed much, the broker one hasn’t changed much in particular, but it has changed slightly so you should get a new one, either from the MFAA website or from the aggregators.  So they should be coming through soon.

Reporter:  Secondly brokers need to get the head around the new credit reporting structure and what this will do the process.

Jon Denovan:  Second thing you need to do is to understand a bit more about credit reports and what you’re going to start seeing in those credit reports.  So brokers ended up not being able to get credit reports again.  I mean mortgage managers and lenders can get credit reports, but more and more brokers are getting credit reports as agent for the borrower because they want to make sure of the borrower’s credit history before they lodge the deal.  And when they get those credit reports under the new system, they are going to get the full repayment history that is being loaded onto the credit reporting body’s database.   So in many cases, brokers may know more than lenders, because some lenders won’t be participating in the positive credit reporting regime.

Reporter:  Finally Denovan urges brokers to invest time into understanding and preparing now, so that you know you are covered.

Jon Denovan:  It’s very hard to go work.  I know in my business going to work in the morning I think privacy.  Well, I do when getting dressed, but after I have got dressed I don’t think about privacy and I don’t expect that most brokers will either.  So this is not a daily thing, but it’s a one time set yourself up properly so that you don’t get pinged.  Little bit of work now you could save a lot of grief later.