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Privacy Awareness Week 2018

What is Privacy Awareness Week?

Privacy Awareness Week is an annual initiative that was started by the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) in 2006. APPA is a forum for privacy authorities in the Asia Pacific region to form partnerships, discuss best practices and share information on emerging technology, trends and changes to privacy regulation.

Privacy Awareness Week is a week dedicated to promoting and raising awareness of privacy issues and the importance of protecting personal information. Authorities within APPA celebrates Privacy Awareness Week by organising events and activities for individuals, businesses and government organisations.

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) is a primary regulator and source of independent advice to the community and the Victorian Government about how the public sector collects, uses and shares information. As part of OVIC’s education and awareness function, we are proud to present Privacy Awareness Week 2018!

Why is privacy important?

A right to privacy is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in Victoria – the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. Privacy legislation in Australia seeks to protect one element of privacy – information privacy.

Privacy is not an absolute right, but an enabling one. This means that privacy is necessary for the realisation of other human rights such as the right to life, liberty and security of person. All of these fundamental rights are enshrined in Victoria’s human rights framework. You have the right to choose and exercise control about your privacy, about how your personal information is collected, used and disclosed. Especially in light of advancing technologies, it’s important to know how to protect your personal information and be aware of your privacy rights.

Privacy Awareness Week is a chance for OVIC to share this message with the community, and encourage a conversation about privacy.

What’s happening this year for Privacy Awareness Week?

This year, the theme is ‘Privacy: From Principles to Practice’, where we are taking a practical view of privacy protection. This theme speaks to implementing smart and simple privacy practices that help organisations to build trust with individuals, comply with obligations regarding privacy communications and manage suspected or known breaches.

In celebration of Privacy Awareness Week from 7 -11 of May, OVIC is hosting several events in line with this theme:

Creativity competition

Entries open 26 March 2018 and close 30 April 2018

To celebrate Privacy Awareness Week, OVIC is continuing the tradition of holding a creativity competition! We are seeking entries from members of the public of all ages that demonstrate a creative interpretation of privacy. All entries must be privacy-related, but there is no prescribed format. Suggestions for entries include drawings, poems, videos, collages, songs, photographs and posters.

The top three entries will be awarded gift vouchers to the value of $200, $100 and $50. The winner will be announced on Friday 11 May 2018.

Entries can be sent via email to or by post to Strategic Privacy Team, OVIC, PO Box 24274, Melbourne VIC 3001.

Workshop: Demystifying de-identification

Date: Tuesday 8 May, 11am – 12:30pm

Led by Dr Vanessa Teague from the University of Melbourne, this workshop will delve into the data world of de-identification – when it works, and when it doesn’t. Working through real-life examples, we’ll learn how some data reveals sensitive details while other data is relatively safe. Dr. Teague will cover methods for removing information to protect the privacy of data and explain how re-identification is done.

Workshop: Responding to Privacy Breaches and Managing Complaints

Date: Wednesday 9 May, 9:30am – 11:30am

Led by OVIC’s Operational Privacy and Assurance (OPA) team, this workshop will provide practical tips for managing and responding to privacy breaches. The OPA team will also walk through OVIC’s complaint handling process and provide some insights into the most common privacy complaints.

Public forum: Debate – Privacy and technology are inherently incompatible

Date: Friday 11 May, 12:30pm – 2:30pm

Moderated by The Mandarin’s Tom Burton, speakers will debate the arguably incompatible entities of privacy and technology. Our panel of speakers will combine perspectives from the law, technology and academia, as well as representation from OVIC’s Youth Advisory Group.

We hope you can join us in celebrating Privacy Awareness Week 2018!

This article was written by Amy Leon, Policy Analyst, Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner. 

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