Fact sheet - ID Scanning (PDF, 53kb)
Have you ever been asked to provide your ID so it can be scanned? Did you know there are both State and Commonwealth privacy laws that may apply when someone scans your ID?
If someone asks to scan your ID when you’re entering a pub, club or commercial business, then Federal privacy laws may apply. For further information on these laws visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at www.oaic.gov.au and refer to the specific details on ID scanning.
If a NSW public sector agency, local council or university wants to scan your ID then NSW privacy laws apply. These are administered by the Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC).
The following information may help you understand what laws apply and what to do if you have any concerns.
What is ID scanning?
ID scanning occurs when you are asked for proof of your identification and an electronic copy of your documents is scanned electronically. Common ID documents are passports and drivers’ licences.
What worries or concerns can arise from ID scanning?
The most common concern is that personal information such as your date of birth, address, passport or driver’s licence number may not be properly safeguarded and could potentially be used for other purposes.
If you are worried when a NSW public sector agency asks to scan your ID, ask them first how they will use and store the information.
Under NSW privacy laws can a NSW public sector agency scan my ID?
Yes, but they must comply with all the requirements of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) (PPIP Act).
Some NSW public sector agencies may be exempt from the Act. They should tell you if this is the case and explain why they are exempt.
Simply sighting your ID may be enough to establish your identity. An agency should not then go on to scan your ID if it is not necessary to perform their role; for example, the agency may not need to provide electronic copies of identification with an application form.
Do I always have to provide my ID to a NSW public sector agency if requested?
Sometimes an agency may require proof of identity before they can provide you with information or a service. Where this is the case the agency should let you know.
NSW privacy laws set out the rules which apply to NSW public sector agencies to protect your privacy.
These rules specify that:
- Your personal information must be kept safe and secure
- All information must be destroyed when it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected.
More information on NSW privacy laws can be found on the IP website.
What can I do if I think the agency shouldn't be scanning my ID?
First ask the agency to explain the reason for their request.
If you are not satisfied with their response or you want to complain about their actions, contact the IPC.
For more information
Contact the Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC):
Last updated: July 2014