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Friday, August 25, 2006

ADT privacy decision highlights technical obstacles

The minefield that has to be negotiated when some seek to exercise rights of complaint and review concerning alleged breaches of privacy in NSW are illustrated in this NSW ADT decision TA v Department of Education and Training (2006) NSWADT 246.

The applicant a school teacher alleged various breaches of privacy following disclosure in 2000 of information to a sub contracted investigator appointed by the agency’s workers compensation insurer.

The upshot? The ADT found that the Department was exempt from most of the principles in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act in 2000 because of a Direction issued by the Privacy Commissioner that applied to its operations at that time; principles not covered by this exemption didn’t apply because the sub contractor to the insurer was not subject to the Act; and to boot, the relevant information was information about the teacher’s suitability for employment – information excluded from the definition of ‘personal information’.

The ADT had no jurisdiction to consider the application for review.

Yet another illustration of the gaps in the legislation for the NSW Law Reform Commission to consider.

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