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Data risk highlights need for consumers’ right to know law

12 December 2012 By ASU & FSU

Unions today called on the federal government implement consumers' right to know legislation, so Australians can make informed decisions about where their sensitive personal data is stored.

In a draft guide published this week, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has identified off-shoring as an area of weakness in banks' data jobs secure data circle350pxw

The Australian Services Union and the Finance Sector Union say data risks intensify when you consider the number of professional services jobs off-shored each year.

"We are losing more than 20,000 professional services jobs offshore every year, from areas where data security is critical. Customer service, payroll, legal clerks – all of these roles are responsible for properly handling sensitive personal and consumer data. Through offshoring we're losing control of that information," said ASU Assistant National Secretary Linda White.

"Think about the 6,500 finance jobs that have been offshored in recent years by ANZ, NAB and Westpac. These jobs are referred to as "back office processing", and it is sensitive personal and financial data that is being processed," said FSU National Secretary Leon Carter.

"Yet there is no law giving bank customers a say on what happens to their data. Right to know legislation would put data handling and storage choices back in the consumers' hands," said Leon Carter.

A report by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) released in October predicts up to 1 million professional services jobs are at risk of being off-shored over the next three decades, without federal government intervention.

"APRA's view is clear – off-shoring magnifies the risk of sensitive information being mismanaged. By having an industry plan for professional services data handling jobs, coupled with right to know legislation, the risk to consumers' data will be far less," said Linda White.

"The federal government must act now," said Linda White.

More info: ASU website: or FSU website:

Spokesperson: Leon Carter, FSU, 0409 946 597

Media: Edwina Byrne, ASU, 0409 017 140 or Leanne Shingles, FSU, 0423 821 773

Further information

You can find the NIEIR report and media release here: 80,000 service sector jobs lost overseas - Unions call for industry plan

Contact Details
Name: Linda White, ASU Assistant National Secretary
Telephone: 03 9342 1400
More info: Secure Jobs Secure Data - campaign page