Archives for: ‘Patrick Gunning’

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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Possessory liens over IP or data

I recently caught up on some UK legal developments, and was struck by a decision which held that the English common law did not recognise a lien over intangible property. Much of what the Court of Appeal had to say in its decision is likely to be influential in Australia. The case involved two parties who had entered into a …

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Can a computer decide whether two business names are “nearly identical”?

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal decided at the end of August 2014 that the prior registration of “Melbourne Children’s Psychology Clinic” as a business name prevented the registration of “Melbourne Child Psychology” and “Melbourne Child Psychology Services” because the latter names were “nearly identical” to the former. Whilst the decision traversed issues of the kind familiar to any practitioner with some …

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Not all fun and games in copycat litigation

The gaming industry (and gamers) will be watching two recent US cases with great anticipation. In these cases, law suits have been brought against alleged copycat games, relying on causes of action including copyright, trade dress and patent infringement. The decisions raise the important and interesting question – can you protect the rules and implementation of a game? What about …

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The supply of a right to use source code

A Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia held recently that a fairly typical software distribution agreement did not confer on the distributor a right to use source code. One may ask why would the parties need to know? The answer lies in the application of royalty withholding tax to payments made by Australian taxpayers to Canadian software licensors. …

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