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Friday, February 03, 2006

"Temporary" exemptions from the PPIPA extended

Meanwhile, Privacy NSW has announced the extension until December 2006 of seven "temporary" Directions which exempt some government agencies from compliance with aspects of the Privacy legislation. These versions of some Directions include an explanation about why they are in the public interest but others are simply renewed without any public justification. The Privacy Commissioner's powers to issue directions is contained in section 41 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act. They were always intended to be "temporary" where required by public interest considerations, pending either legislative changes or the approval of a code of conduct by the Attorney General.

Just why almost 6 years after the Act commenced a "temporary" direction (Some Information Transfers Between Public Sector Agencies) is still necessary to provide an exemption from the Act where government agencies had in place agreements prior to June 2000, has never been explained or justified.

Despite comments last year by the NSW ADT that one of these Directions - on the use of information for investigative purposes - was ambiguous and that it has been interpreted in several ways - there has been no change to the text.

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