Would a Statutory Privacy Tort in Australia Harm Valuable Free Speech?

3 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2021

See all articles by Megan Richardson

Megan Richardson

University of Melbourne - Law School

Barbara McDonald

The University of Sydney Law School

Normann Witzleb

Monash University - Faculty of Law; The Chinese University of Hong Kong

David Vaile

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law; Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre

Graham Greenleaf

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 15, 2021

Abstract

The Australian government is currently looking at reform of Australia’s privacy laws including the vexed question of a statutory tort for serious invasion of privacy. But would stronger protection of privacy imperil valuable speech in Australia?

In this paper, five academics involved in privacy law reform argue that a tort of serious invasion of privacy, as recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2011 and endorsed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in its Digital Platforms Inquiry Report, would not only have benefits in providing individuals and groups with stronger and more transparent privacy protection including vis-à-vis media. It would help to protect them from the real threat of publication of personal information which could have a “chilling effect” on those wanting to criticise government agencies and other powerful figures – i.e. privacy is here a vehicle for free speech.

Keywords: privacy, tort, Australia, ALRC, ACCC, serious invasion of privacy

Suggested Citation

Richardson, Megan and McDonald, Barbara and Witzleb, Normann and Witzleb, Normann and Vaile, David and Greenleaf, Graham, Would a Statutory Privacy Tort in Australia Harm Valuable Free Speech? (February 15, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3785697 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3785697

Megan Richardson

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Barbara McDonald

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Normann Witzleb

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

The Chinese University of Hong Kong ( email )

6/F, Lee Shau Kee Building
Shatin, New Territories
Kowloon, Sha Tin
Hong Kong

David Vaile

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.cyberlawcentre.org

Graham Greenleaf (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law ( email )

Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 2233 (Phone)
+61 2 9385 1175 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.austlii.edu.au/~graham

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