Privacy Commissioner responds to privacy concerns about the Opal Card

Media release - Privacy Commissioner responds to privacy concerns about the Opal Card (PDF, 55kb)

The NSW Privacy Commissioner, Dr Elizabeth Coombs has responded to the recent privacy issues concerning Opal travel cards being used for law enforcement purposes.

“NSW Police and other law enforcement bodies have an exemption under the NSW privacy legislation to access information reasonably required for investigative purposes,” said Dr Coombs. “The Opal Privacy Policy does not provide NSW Police or other law enforcement bodies with any new powers, and is consistent with the existing exemptions applicable to NSW Police and other law enforcement bodies under the NSW privacy legislation.

“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.

In order to make an informed decision about the Opal card and how personal information is managed under that service, individuals should familiarise themselves with the Opal Privacy Policy.

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)
Web: www.opal.com.au

Information and Privacy Commission NSW

Free call: 1800 472 679
Email: ipcinfo@ipc.nsw.gov.au
Web: www.ipc.nsw.gov.au