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Australia – Online TMT News.

8 September, 2014

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Australia – TMT

 

New Privacy Regime Commences In The Australian Capital Territory.

 

As of 1 September 2014, the Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT) (Act) commenced operation in the Australian Capital Territory, providing a new privacy regime based on Territory Privacy Principles (TPPs). The TPPs largely mirror the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Under the Act, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has responsibility for investigating and advising ACT public sector agencies, in addition to undertaking privacy assessments. Public sector agencies will need to ensure that their privacy policies reflect the requirements under the new regime.

 

View the Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT).

 

Radio 2SM Found To Breach Privacy Standards.

 

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that Radio 2SM Pty Ltd (Radio 2SM) breached privacy clauses in the Commercial Radio Australia Code of Practice and Guidelines (Code) when its radio presenter, John Laws, broadcast a man’s name and mobile telephone number.

 

The ACMA commenced an investigation in February 2014 after receiving a complaint by the man whose details were read twice on air in November 2013. The complainant had sent several critical emails to Mr Laws which included his mobile telephone number. The ACMA found such conduct was in breach of clause 2.3(d) of the Code, which prohibits a radio station from using “material relating to a person’s personal or private affairs, or which invades an individual’s privacy” in circumstances where there is no public interest. In its decision, the ACMA concluded that through Mr Laws’ conduct, Radio 2SM identified the complainant with sufficient detail for him to be contacted directly. The ACMA rejected arguments made by Radio 2SM that the complainant gave implicit consent to having his mobile number disclosed, and it was of the view that there was no clearly identifiable public interest that Radio 2SM could avail itself of. Notwithstanding the breach, the ACMA did find that Radio 2SM handled the complaint in accordance with the Code.

 

View the ACMA’s Investigation Report.

 

Tax Office Releases Guidance For The Treatment Of Crypto-Currency

 

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued guidance and draft tax rulings on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Bitcoin is an alternative, digital currency with claims to being the largest of its kind and operates independently of a central bank. Bitcoin can be traded online and is increasingly used as a method of payment for goods and services.

 

Whilst the ATO considers that Bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, it intends to treat the virtual currency as non-cash consideration under a barter transaction. Use of Bitcoin as a method of payment in the course of business will consequently be subject to the Good and Services Tax (GST). Businesses transacting using Bitcoin will be required to keep particular documents detailing the date of a transaction with Bitcoin, the amount in Australia dollars, a description of what the transaction was for and identifying details of the other party (for example, a Bitcoin address). Moreover, wages paid by businesses in Bitcoin may be subject to fringe benefits tax. The use of Bitcoin for personal use, rather than use in business, will not attract income tax or GST implications, and any capital gain or loss will be disregarded where the cost of the Bitcoin is AUD10,000 or less.

 

View the ATO’s guidance paper and draft rulings.

 

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For further information, please contact:

 

Gordon Hughes, Partner, Ashurst
gordon.hughes@ashurst.com

 

Ashurst TMT Practice Profile in Australia

 

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