Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
The Federal Privacy Commissioner has reported a threefold increase in inquiries and a fourfold increase in written complaints, comparing the first half of 2002 with the second half of 2001. ,The Commissioner’s telephone hotline received more than 13,000 calls in the six months from the start of the new private sector jurisdiction on 21 December. This is more than the total for 2001, when slightly more than 8000 calls were received. The 456 written complaints received in the last six months compares with 194 for the whole of 2001.
Source: OFPC Media release <www.privacy.gov.au/news/media/02_11.html>.
The Information Technology and Contract Recruitment Association ,has withdrawn its application for a Recruitment Industry Privacy Code under s 18BB of the Privacy Act ,1988 (Cth).
Just under half of the respondents to the 2001 census exercised their choice not to have the forms microfilmed and retained in a ‘time capsule’ to be used for research in 99 years. Despite the reassurance that access would not be given for any purpose to the identifiable data, 47 per cent of those completing the forms declined to give permission. The 2001 New Zealand Census included a similar question and 40 per cent of respondents refused permission. The NZ Statistician suggested this might reflect a lack of trust in government. [Editor: If so, ,then Australians appear even less trusting of government assurances, given understandable sensitivity about the detailed personal information that is included in census returns.]
Source: ABS — see <www.abs.gov.au> — search for ‘time capsule’.
The British Government has announced the appointment of Richard Thomas as the next UK Information Commissioner, succeeding Elizabeth France, who steps down in November to become the first UK Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
Mr Thomas has a strong background in consumer affairs, having worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau Legal Advice Service and the National Consumer Council, latterly as public affairs head, before a six year spell as consumer affairs director at the Office of Fair Trading. Since 1992 he has been public policy director at the law firm Clifford Chance. He is also a non-executive director of the UK Financial Ombudsman Service.
The British Government has withdrawn a draft order extending the reach of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 until the autumn at the earliest. The order would have given a host of government departments, local councils and quangos the power to demand, on their own authority, access to detailed communications logs, including individuals’ email records and mobile phone location data. Current legislation gives only the police, the intelligence services, customs and excise and the Inland Revenue these powers.
The Home Office also withdrew a second draft order giving the same list of public bodies the power to authorise themselves to conduct surveillance against individuals and to use ,informers.
Source: Guardian Unlimited 19 June ,— for this and related articles see <www.guardian.co.uk/netprivacy>.