Skip to main content

How to Safeguard the Right to Digital Privacy

Technology and Human Rights
Human Rights and Technology

The Human Right to Privacy

Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, once stated that ‘privacy may actually be an anomaly’. However this is at odds with human rights, as the right to privacy is a cornerstone right.

It underpins freedoms of association, thought and expression, as well as freedom from discrimination. The right to privacy developed over centuries. For example, in the fourth century B.C.E Aristotle drew the distinction between the public sphere of politics and the private sphere of domestic life.

Thousands of years later, the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ is characterised by rapid technological development. These changes have arguably reinforced the central importance of the right to privacy.

Our Submission 

The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Act) is the primary piece of legislation that protects the human right to privacy online. However, as technologies have improved and become more integral in our lives, the Act has become outdated and is no longer fit for purpose. 

The Commission is pleased to announce our submission Safeguarding the Right to Privacy has now been provided to the Attorney-General's Department. 

Our Recommendations 

The Commission made a substantive submission which included over 35 recommendations. To protect the human right to privacy in digital spaces the Commission recommends amending the Act by (amongst others):

The Australian Human Rights Commission made its submission to the Attorney-General’s Department on 05 April in response to the Privacy Act Review Report 2022.