The Information and Privacy Commission NSW champions privacy and information rights.
The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Tydd has tabled a report in Parliament outlining the achievements of Government agencies and NSW councils in applying the principles of the GIPA Act.
Under section 37 of the Government Information (Information Commissioner) Act 2009 (GIIC Act), the Information Commissioner is required to provide to Parliament with an Annual Report on the operation of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the Act). This will be the first year that such a report has been submitted.
The Report on the operation of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009: 2010 – 2013 demonstrates the advancement of the objectives of the GIPA Act through collective data provided by the five decision making sectors the GIPA Act applies to: NSW government agencies, state owned corporations, NSW councils, universities and Ministers and their staff.
The results of the report are promising and confirm that agencies are adopting the Act’s flexible and timely approach to decision making to support greater release of information as shown by:
- consistent and credible levels of information release
- high level of timeliness
- increasing number of valid applications and more invalid applications becoming valid
- the application of public interest considerations that align with the type of information held
- greater release of information through agency reviews
- variation of original decisions through the review process.
From the learnings of this inaugural report the Information Commissioner is working with all sectors to implement an integrated reporting framework, improve the data quality, enhance the decision making process and improve operational competencies in collaboration with the five decision making sectors.
For more information and to download a copy of the report and please click here.
The NSW Privacy Commissioner, Dr Elizabeth Coombs has responded to the recent privacy issues concerning Opal travel cards being used for law enforcement purposes.
“While this exemption exists, it’s important to have rules around how Opal information will be accessed by Police, and I understand that Transport NSW and NSW Police are having discussions about putting these arrangements in place.
“It’s important that these discussions are finalised given the take up of the Opal card and the phasing out of paper tickets. Letting the public know that there are rules around how Police can access Opal card information and what these rules are, is important to establishing trust in the Opal card,” said Dr Coombs.
“I will also look to Transport for NSW to confirm it has processes in place to ensure its recordkeeping is appropriate and secure, and that there is provision for independent monitoring as an important governance mechanism,” Dr Coombs said.
Transport NSW has advised that unregistered cards will soon be available for individuals who do not want to disclose their personal information in order to travel on public transport. These will be available from kiosks at stations and from local Opal card retailers to purchase for cash.
If you have any concerns about the Opal card and how it collects, stores and shares personal information, you can seek further information or make an enquiry to:
Transport for NSW:
Call: 13 67 25 (13 OPAL)
Under NSW privacy law, personal information means any information or opinion that allows an individual to be identified. The laws apply to NSW public sector agencies, public and private health practitioners and certain businesses in NSW, and they must abide by these laws when they collect, store, use, dispose or disclose your personal information.
If you believe your privacy has been breached, you can make a complaint. For more information about how to make a complaint, click here.
There are also things you can do to help keep your privacy safe:
- Never give out personal details to strangers
- Always use privacy settings when on social media or using apps
- Shred documents containing your personal details
- Keep passwords, PINS and other codes safe and do not share them.
For more information on protecting your privacy, click here.
The NSW Information Commissioner welcomes the review of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) and encourages contributions to this important review via written submissions to the Department of Justice.
This review fulfils the requirements of section 130 of the GIPA Act to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing these objectives.
The object of the GIPA Act is to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic government that is open, accountable, fair and effective by:
a) authorising and encouraging the proactive public release of government information by agencies;
b) giving members of the public an enforceable right to access government information; and
c) providing that access to government information is restricted only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
Submissions to the review should be sent to:
The Director, Justice Policy
Department of Justice
GPO Box 6, Sydney NSW 2001
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for submissions is 29 August 2014.
The federal government has introduced changes to the federal privacy legislation. From 12 March 2014 the changes include a set of new privacy principles that will regulate the handling of personal information by businesses and federal Australian government agencies.
These changes do not impact NSW privacy legislation which is administered by the IPC.
For more information on changes to the federal legislation, visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's website.