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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New federal privacy case notes

The Federal Privacy Commissioner has published 13 new case notes.

Issues concerning medical practitioners keep cropping up. In K v Health Service Provide (2007) PrivCmrA13 a medical centre initially refused to provide a person access to a document on the grounds that to do so would pose a risk to health. The Commissioner agreed with another consultant that disclosure would pose no such threat. With respect to another document which included information about the complainant sent to the medical centre by another family member, the Commissioner supported the decision to refuse access.

In M v Health Service Provider (2007) PrivCmrA15, a medical practitioners practice of taking a photograph of each patient and attaching it to the file was held to involve an unnecessary collection of personal information.

Even lawyers can fall foul of the privacy principles. In G v Law Firm (2007) PrivCmrA9, solicitors acting for two different insurance companies, used and disclosed personal information acquired in respect of one claim in handling a separate claim by the same person with a different company. The Commissioner didn't accept the law firm's claim that this was necessary for the purposes of an investigation.

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