Peter Timmins is a consultant who works on Freedom of Information and privacy protection issues. He was also Deputy Chair of the Independent Audit of Free Speech in Australia that kicked off the Right to Know campaign, spearheaded by News Limited’s CEO, John Hartigan.

For these reasons, as well as the cogency of his arguments, his critique of Hartigan’s weekend article arguing against the Australian Law Rrform Commisison’s privacy report deserves to be read.

As I commented yesterday, Hartigan’s claims that self regulation is sufficient have been undermined by his own mastheads running the so-called Pauline Hanson pictures. Timmins gives other examples as well, and points out the safeguards to protect the public interest in the ALRC report.

Certainly, Hartigan’s opening paragraph to his weekend article sounds hollow in the wake of the Hanson photographs.

“WE are all entitled to privacy. It serves no one for personal information to be exposed about our health, private financial affairs and so on. If there is no legitimate public interest in someone’s affairs, then that information should — and largely does — remain private.

Except, it seems, when sex and the possibility of circulation gains combine.

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