Following reports that researchers had re-identified a de-identified data set published by the Federal Department of Health, the Attorney General announced amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). The purpose of the amendments, which will criminalise re-identification of government data sets, is to provide improved protection for ‘anonymised data-sets.’ This post raises questions about the necessity for and appropriateness of introducing criminal sanctions of the sort proposed and by way of amendment to the Privacy Act.

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