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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Federal FOI and privacy law changes

If you are interested in more information than in the previous post about the interplay between the proposed new Federal privacy law and the Freedom of Information Act as it now stands, and might become in the light of the Government's FOI reform proposals, particularly access and correction issues, see the response and narrative regarding Recommendation 29 starting on page 64 of the First Stage Response pdf 805kb

A related issue for policy makers, given recent Queensland and NSW access to government information laws that adopt the existing Federal Privacy Act definition of personal information, is this recommendation and response:
"Recommendation 6–1 The Privacy Act should define ‘personal information’ as ‘information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an identified or reasonably identifiable individual’.
Response: Accept
The Government agrees it is important for the definition of personal information to be sufficiently flexible and technology-neutral to encompass changes in the way that information that identifies an individual is collected and handled. The ALRC’s recommended definition continues to allow this approach and also brings the definition in line with international standards and precedents. The proposed definition does not significantly change the scope of what is considered to be personal information. The application of ‘reasonably identifiable’ ensures the definition continues to be based on factors which are relevant to the context and circumstances in which the information is collected and held. The Government proposes that this element of the definition will be informed by whether it would be reasonable and practicable to identify the individual from both the information itself and other reasonably accessible information."

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