19 August 2014

ACT Information Privacy Commissioner

In two steps forward one step backward mode the ACT Government has announced that the national Privacy Commissioner (who at this state is expected to move to the Human Rights Commission at the end of the year when the OAIC ceases to exist) will act as the Territory's Information Privacy Commissioner. That role was established by the Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT).

The ACT Attorney-General indicates that the Government has
signed a new memorandum of understanding with the Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner for privacy services in the ACT. 
Attorney General, Simon Corbell, said the arrangement provided the ACT with quality privacy services that draw on the commission's long established expertise in working to improve privacy protection and awareness. 
Under the MOU, which will operate from 2014 over three years until 2017, the Australian Privacy Commissioner will act as the ACT Information Privacy Commissioner and will be responsible for investigating and resolving privacy complaints about the handling of personal information by the ACT Government. 
The ACT Government committed an additional $320,000 funding over four years in the 2014-15 Budget to expand the range of services provided to the ACT to support privacy protection. 
In addition to handling complaints and the continuation of a system for regular assessments of the information handling practices of specific agencies, the MOU includes privacy policy and legislative advice to the ACT Government and to MLAs. 
Access to these services will allow ACT Government agencies to effectively administer privacy requirements under the new Information Privacy Act 2014. 
"The independent oversight and auditing of information handling by ACT Government directorates under this MOU will help protect the privacy of Canberrans," Mr Corbell said.
Given uncertainties about resourcing of the national Commissioner and - more subtly - its passivity  or permissiveness the agreement is a step back.