Australia to introduce tougher penalties for data leaks

The Australian government is preparing to introduce legislation toughening penalties for privacy violations after a large-scale hacking of the mobile operator Optus.

The legislation will increase the maximum fine for serious or repeated privacy violations to AUD$50 million ($32 million); three times the amount of any benefit resulting from the misuse of information; or 30% of the company's adjusted turnover for the corresponding period, whichever is greater. The current level is a fine of $2.22 million.

The bill will also give the Australian Information Commissioner broader powers to address privacy violations.

Earlier this month, SingTel reported that a second Australian business, Dialog, had also been cyber-attacked. As a result of the hacking, data on less than 20 clients and 1,000 current and former employees could have been obtained.

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