The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on the Bush administration’s use of the state secrets privilege. Under the privilege, the government can keep information from becoming public if it believes that the data will harm national security. Witnesses at the hearing discussed the concept of privilege as well as a bill (S. 2533) introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) that would require that the executive branch obtain court approval from a federal court each time it invokes the state secrets privilege in a civil action to prevent information from being released. Under the measure, the executive branch would also be required to provide a report to Congress on each item within 30 days of invoking the privilege.
Australia has enacted a new amendment that will broaden the definition of personal information and require more transparency from organizations on how that personal information is stored. The new law, The Privacy Regulation 2013, is part of the broader Privacy Amendment Act of 2012 and applies to companies with revenues of more than AUD 3 million that collect information, such as names, contact details, payment information, or other details related to a specific person, for any purpose.