Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 27th Regular Session

Panel on the right to privacy in the digital age

Statement by Australia
12 September 2014

Australia welcomes the opportunity to speak on the important issue of privacy in the digital age.

Australia’s firm view is that individuals enjoy the same human rights online as they do offline, including the right to protection against unlawful or arbitrary interference with an individual’s privacy.

Governments have a duty to ensure the safety and security of their citizens as well as to protect the privacy of their personal and sensitive information.

Australia supports efforts to protect individual privacy. We believe that this protection must be underpinned by legislation that reconciles both the domestic and international legal obligations of a State.

Australian law prohibits intercepting or accessing communications and disclosing any information relating to an individual’s communication, without lawful authority. In all circumstances, appropriate privacy safeguards are ensured and independent authorisation is required.

Australian legislation ensures that lawful access to communication by law enforcement, anti-corruption and national security agencies is proportionate and not arbitrary. A civil remedy mechanism enables any person whose communications have been unlawfully accessed to seek recompense.