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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Personal information free at last - maybe

A year ago in 'Privacy right to personal information - for free?' we drew attention to some comments by the Deputy Ombudsman, that a government agency in NSW could not charge where a person requested access to personal information held in accordance with provisions of the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act. This apparently was the result of a mix up when the Act was amended in 2004.

It's taken a year for this to come to broader attention with an item posted on 23 September on the homepage of the NSW Privacy Commissioner.

But as ever nothing in the privacy field in NSW is straight forward. An agency can charge if some specific legislation that applies would permit it to do so. This probably means local councils can charge. And agencies can charge for access to health information if sought under the Health Records Information Privacy Act.

Clear as mud?

I don't know how many disgruntled people there are who might have paid up for information that should have been provided free of charge - it's another interesting question whether they might be entitled to a refund.

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