Category Archive for: ‘Privacy’

When is information about a residential property “personal information”?

Is information contained in a document about a residential property “personal information” about the owners or occupants of the property under NSW privacy legislation even if the document doesn’t directly identify the owners or occupants? This was the question that the Appeal Panel of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal had to consider in Office of Finance and Services v …

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Data security breach by Australian Immigration Department

The Australian Privacy Commissioner has found that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection contravened the Privacy Act when the Department accidentally published the personal details of almost 10,000 asylum seekers in a document that was intended to provide statistical information about the number and status of applications made for refugee status. The contravention occurred in February 2014, just weeks …

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Mandatory data retention bill introduced to Australian parliament

Today the Australian government introduced its much anticipated bill to amend telecommunications laws to require providers of certain communications services to retain so-called “metadata” about the communications they carry. The government clearly anticipates that the proposals will be controversial – the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the bill includes a detailed “Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights” of 144 paragraphs. Amongst other …

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De-identification and medical records in NSW

Are health service providers in New South Wales obliged by the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) to de-identify medical records on the request of a patient? Not according to this recent decision of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. On 20 October 2014 the Tribunal dismissed a claim against a local health district in which the applicant …

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Privacy and employee records – CP and Dept of Defence

The Privacy Commissioner’s determination in the matter of CP and the Department of Defence illustrates one significant difference in the treatment of federal agencies and private sector organisations under the federal Privacy Act. This case involved an employee of the department who had made a claim for worker’s compensation in respect of an injury alleged to be work-related. The department …

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Google around the world: privacy, e-commerce and the “right to be forgotten”

A panel of people appointed by Google is meeting in Madrid today to debate the balance between privacy and freedom of information. This is the first of seven meetings set to take place across various European capitals, instigated by the “internet giant” after the controversial “right to be forgotten” ruling of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in May this …

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Serious Invasions of Privacy – a new Cause of Action in Australia?

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) released its final report on “Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era” (Report) yesterday, setting out the detailed legal design of a statutory civil cause of action for serious invasions of privacy.  In a report commissioned by the Gillard government in 2013, the ALRC recommends that the cause of action be enacted in …

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High Court to decide whether regulator can determine if a broadcasting service has been used in the commission of an offence

The legal consequences of the prank call made in December 2012 in which Australian radio announcers called a hospital in London pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles asking after the health of the Duchess of Cambridge are still to be determined. On 15 August 2014 the High Court of Australia decided that it would grant special leave …

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Privacy Commissioner awards damages

In a rare example of the Commissioner making a determination under the Privacy Act, Aerocare Pty Limited has been found liable to compensate an airline passenger for the manner in which they collected and disclosed sensitive health information about the passenger in an airport departure lounge. The facts and determination Aerocare was acting as a contractor to the airline known …

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