Privacy Law and Policy Reporter
Several Japanese municipalities, including the city of Yokohama, are reportedly resisting the proposed issue of national identification numbers. The national government scheme, apparently launched with little debate, aims to issue all 126 million Japanese residents with an 11 digit number to be used to link records in local and central government computer systems. Critics fear the potential of the scheme for surveillance and possible suppression of dissent, and a constitutional challenge is under consideration.
Source: various media reports.
The Australian Customs Service and the Department of Immigration are trailing a face recognition system at Sydney Airport using the SmartGate system. The long term objective is ,to speed up security clearance of passengers. Photographs taken at control points are compared with a scanned image of the person’s passport photograph. Staff from Quantas flight crews are taking part in the trial.
Source: government media release <law.gov.au/aghome/agnews/2002newsjus/e106_02.htm>/.
The National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) has issued its interim report of its review into spam (unsolicited bulk electronic messages). The report, The spam problem and how it can be countered, suggests a clear and widely accepted definition; development of codes of practice and practice guidelines; identification of known ‘spammers’; quality control over filtering products; additional resources to enforce existing laws, and greater international co-operation. The report also suggests curtailing the ability of spammers to ,use anonymous accounts, although it acknowledges that this would need to ,be balanced with privacy interests. Interested parties should co-operate to monitor and publicise the scale and nature of the problem and to promote awareness of preventive measures. Options for further regulation include ,an outright ban and a requirement for greater transparency. The application and effectiveness of current privacy law should be reviewed. NOIE requested submissions on the issues raised and recommended options by 13 September 2002.
The Federal Privacy Commissioner has approved a second private sector Code of Practice under Pt IIIAA of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (following the Insurance Code). The Queensland Club Industry Privacy Code, approved on 7 August 2002 and taking effect on 23 August 2002, was submitted by Clubs Queensland. Those clubs that have adopted the Code will now be bound by the terms of the Code, rather than the default National Privacy Principles. But apart from wording changes to make the principles more relevant to Clubs, there are no differences in the obligations. As the Code does not include a separate complaint handling mechanism, the Privacy Commissioner retains direct responsibility for dealing with any complaints about breaches of the Code. The Code has been developed to demonstrate the commitment of Queensland clubs to safeguarding members privacy, and is supported by practical guidance on how to implement the principles and handle complaints in the first instance.