​‘Sleeping’ privacy legislation rushed in, brokers left in dark

New privacy regulations remain decidedly vague as the government rushes to finalise guidelines before March.



New privacy regulations remain decidedly vague as the government rushes to finalise guidelines before March.

Jon Denovan, partner at Gadens Lawyers says many brokers have been left in the dark about what the new laws, due to take effect in less than two months,  will mean for them.

“I think brokers are wondering what they’ve got to do about this new law, because although there’s been a bit of publicity there’s never been a simple guide to what brokers have to do and what will change for brokers, and the reason for that is that the government was running late passing the laws,” says Denovan.

Gadens had expected comprehensive regulations to be released early this year, giving brokers and business owners sufficient time to prepare for the changes, but instead found the regulations lacking.

“When you go to the Credit Act half the law is in the regulations and they change things or give you forms or qualify things so we thought the regulation here would be the same… but I think last year because of the change in government the regulations are very basic and didn’t provide any further information at all.

“The big difference here is this has been a sort of sleeping legislation that no one’s policed and now everybody’s getting a bit aggressive about it with a brand new commissioner and a brand new government department to police it.”

One of the key changes in the regulations that will affect brokers is a change in the privacy consent documentation that brokers will need both for their own businesses and for the banks. The issue with not having any clear guidelines means that banks and broking businesses are likely to all be working with different documentation.

“Brokers will be given new application forms from lenders with new privacy consents in them and some of these privacy consents could be terribly, terribly long and scary because lawyers have over-tooled them – because that’s what lawyers are good at.”

Brokers will also be required to display a privacy policy on their website and, if the business has more than five employees, have a privacy compliance plan in place.

Gadens is currently working on a sample privacy policy for brokers that the MFAA will distribute to its members. The new privacy regulations take effect March 12, 2014.

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