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Monday, July 21, 2008

Annual NSW privacy report-better late than never

The NSW Attorney General is a busy fellow. The Annual Report of the NSW Privacy Commissioner for 2006-2007 was signed by Acting Commissioner John Dickie, who finished up in the job at the end of December 2007. The report contains no date, so the Attorney General may have received it anytime to the end of last year. The Attorney General got around to tabling the report in Parliament on 3 June 2008, thus freeing up Privacy NSW to publish the report (on the web on 24 June)- just 359 days after the end of the period covered by the report, and six days before the end of the 2007-2008 year and the commencement of the task of putting together another annual report.

The report is published in two parts- some interesting case studies from page 19 onwards in Part 1 continued in Part 2 with a summary of some important Tribunal cases, and this comment about access to court documents(page 29):
"We opposed a proposal that all documents declared “open access” be made available to the media and to members of the public without those seeking access having to show sufficient cause. We expressed a view that there seems to be a trend towards allowing greater access to court documents, regardless of whether the interest of those seeking access is anything more than sheer curiosity."
Media organisations are of the view that the trend is for more not less restrictions on access to court documents. And does the principle of open justice cut any ice with Privacy NSW when it comes to"sufficient cause"?

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