Friday, January 15, 2010
Sound of wheels turning on Christmas eve.
The NSWLRC Report on Privacy Principles dated August was released on 22 December, without statement or comment by the Commission or the Attorney General. The Report recommends a number of changes to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Unified Privacy Principles. The Federal Government had responded to the UPP recommendations on 14 October, after the Report was completed but before release. How the NSWLRC recommendations fit, and their impact on the Federal Government's ambition to lead the country towards uniform laws is unclear. The Commission's reference on privacy laws is still incomplete after four years.
Meanwhile the Acting NSW Privacy Commissioner on 24 December renewed eight Directions that provide relief from compliance for some or all NSW government agencies with all or some privacy principles for another 12 months, including one for certain information transfers that grandfathers any agreement, formal or informal, between government agencies in existence at the time the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act commenced on 1 July 2000. Directions can be issued where justified by a finding that the Direction is in the public interest. No list of any agreements has been published nor any published detailed reasons for the finding. While approval for agreements of this kind might have been a reasonable transitional move ten years ago, why they need to be preserved still where otherwise contrary to the law is hard to fathom.