Australia gov't considers to strengthen privacy laws

13:49, July 21, 2011      

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by Vienna Ma

In the wake of Britain phone- hacking scandal, Australian federal government on Thursday said it is considering to strengthen privacy laws, paving the way for Australians to sue media organizations for any breaches.

According to Privacy Minister Brendan O'Connor, the government would now bring forward a decision on whether the right to privacy should be enshrined in Australian law, based on the recommendations of a 2008 report by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

He said The News of the World scandal in the UK and other recent "mass breaches of privacy", both at home and abroad, had put the spotlight on whether there should be such a right.

He added that new technology, while providing more opportunities for communication, were posing new challenges to privacy.

"We think there needs to be now a proper debate about whether we've struck the right balance between two very important ideals : the freedom of expression and freedom of the press on one hand and the right for a private life, the right for privacy," O'Connor was quoted by ABC Radio on Thursday.

"We're not suggesting that the gross invasions of privacy that have occurred in the United Kingdom in this recent scandal are happening here."

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