Next act in privacy drama

which comes into effect on December 21, will have a smaller impact than first thought.

Through its national umbrella body the Real Estate Institute, the Real Estate Institute of WA had been involved with a special committee assessing the Act’s effects on the industry.

In July, the REI hired a Canberra-based law firm to prepare a plan to deal with the implications of the Act.

But it appears the Act will not have as large an impact on the industry as first thought.

Real Estate Institute of WA chief executive officer Michael Griffiths said details of the legislation had been circulated to various chapters.

“We’re having a general member forum to give an explanation of the Privacy Act in early November,” Mr Griffiths said.

“At this stage the advice we’ve had

is this Act will not impact on any one

sector any more than any other.”

Most real estate agents and business brokers fall into the small business category of the legislation, so the changes will not affect them until December 21 2002.

Business brokers were initially expected to be hit hard by the Act.

A business’ databases is considered one of its biggest assets and the Act will limit the way that information can be used.

Privacy Commissioner Malcolm Crompton likened the Act to zoning restrictions because it will limit how a business’ database can be used by its purchaser.

The Act treats the purchase of a business and its database as the collection of information.

If the purchaser continues to use the information for the purpose it was collected, then the Act remains silent. However, if the purchaser wants to use the information for a different purpose, then it needs the consent of those whose information it has collected before it can do so.

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