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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Private Parts" [1996] PrivLawPRpr 21; (1996) 3(1) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 20

Private parts

compiled by Graham Greenleaf


NSW Attorney-General, Jeff Shaw, announced that the NSW Government would introduce legislation censoring the provision via telecommunications facilities of material that would be refused classification (RC) and a very wide range of classified materials, including R-rated films, and material unsuitable for minors under 15 years-of-age (MA+ rating).

The legislation would make it `an offence to transmit, advertise, permit access to and retrieval of such material through online services', and `will apply to all online services, such as the Internet, bulletin boards and e-mail'.

It seems inconceivable that there could be an intention to attempt to ban from the Internet anything not suitable for a 14-year-old. The WA and Victorian legislation (see 2 PLPR 148) makes it an offence to make such material available to minors (an approach which has other problems), but does not ban it outright. It is also unclear whether the Bill will treat genuinely private (person-to-person) e-mail in exactly the same fashion as publications aimed at the world. Mr Shaw's press release is silent on these crucial points.

On the issue of uniformity, Mr Shaw said `I submitted the legislation drafted by the NSW Parliamentary Counsel to the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General last week in Darwin. I believe this to be the best and most effective model. However, negotiations are continuing in order to achieve the aim of a national standard. NSW recognises that national uniformity is desirable in the regulation of the Internet. However, the failure of some states to agree to these proposals will not stop NSW enacting comprehensive protective legislation with tough penalties.'


The Institute of Personnel Management NZ has produced a detailed IPM Guide to Employee Data and the Privacy Act 1993, interpreting the 12 IPPs in the NZ Act in the employment context. The Guide was prepared with the Privacy Commissioner's assistance. It notes that `in time, the Guide may form the basis for a code of practice under the Act', but in fact seems to illustrate the point often made by Commissioner Slane that NZ businesses are generally able to live with the Act without needing it to be varied by codes.

A second IPM Guide, Occupational Testing, aims to set out guidelines for good professional practice in all types of occupational testing, and is not directly related to the requirements of the NZ Act. It is endorsed by the NZ Psychological Society Inc, and was prepared withthe Commissioner's assistance.

Copies may be obtained from the Institute's National Office, PO Box34-620 Auckland, tel +64 9 4801349.


The Australian Health Ethics Committee has requested patience (Newsletter #5, December 1995) by those who have ordered its top-selling publication, Guidelines for the protection of privacy in the conduct of medical research, as the AGPS reprint is still coming. Its popularity can't be because of the review in these pages (see 1 PLPR 173).

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