Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
In a separate but related development in relation to data-matching by Commonwealth government agencies, the Privacy Commissioner has issued revised 'voluntary' data-matching guidelines to be followed by Commonwealth agencies in respect of most data-matching other than that regulated directly by the 1990 Act. The revisions seek to accommodate some of the practical concerns raised by agencies about the earlier (1992) guidelines, without reducing accountability.
The new Guidelines take effect on 1 January 1996 and are available from the Privacy Commissioner's office. Most Commonwealth agencies have agreed to comply with them, but the tax office and law enforcement agencies continue to resist the application of the guidelines to their matching activities (see 2 PLPR 114 concerning actual compliance with the Guidelines). Both the Privacy Commissioner (in his 1994 Report to the Attorney-General - see 2 PLPR 114) and the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee (in its June 1995 'In Confidence' report - see 2 PLPR 101) have called for the guidelines to be put on a statutory footing.