Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
Privacy NSW now publishes online a newsletter which is aimed at Privacy Contact Officers in agencies but is in fact invaluable for anyone interested ,in the way the Act is administered, including those representing complain-ants. The current issue is at <www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/pc.nsf/pages/newsletterjun2002>.
Privacy NSW reports that its complaint profile is changing:
An analysis of complaints made to this Office against public sector agencies, in relation to files closed during 2000-01, showed that the most complaints were coming from employees (27%), constituents (10%) and students (10%) of the agency concerned. However in relation to complaints closed thus far ,in 2001-02, this pattern has changed. Clients and customers of government, which may include students, prisoners, residents and ratepayers, accounted for 52% of complaints against NSW State agencies and local councils. Complaints by employees accounted for 14% of complaints overall, although there was ,a marked difference in this category between local councils (31%) and ,State agencies (10%).
Source: Privacy NSW Newsletter June 2002.
After the High Court’s obiter statements in Lenah v ABC (see (2002) 8(7) PLPR 129) ‘the position of surreptitiously obtained confidential information has been largely resolved’, according to Andrew McRobert in ‘Breach of confidence: Revisiting the protection of surreptitiously obtained information’ (2002) 13(2) Australian Intellectual Property Law Journal 69. According to McRobert:
... a majority of High Court justices support the protection of confidential information obtained outside a relationship of confidence where the recipient knows, or has reason to know, that the information is confidential.