Privacy Act

1.14 The Privacy Act regulates the handling of personal information. Initially, the Act applied exclusively to the Commonwealth public sector. Public sector agencies are required to comply with the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs), which are similar, but not identical, to the OECD Guidelines. The Act was amended shortly after its enactment ‘to deal with government data-matching activities and the activities of credit providers and also was extended to cover the Australian Capital Territory public sector’. [23]

1.15 In 2000, amendments to the Privacy Act established a separate set of privacy principles, known as the National Privacy Principles (NPPs), which apply to the private sector.[24] The IPPs and the NPPs are discussed in detail in Part D. A general overview of the Privacy Act is provided in Chapter 5.

[23] M Paterson, Freedom of Information and Privacy in Australia: Government and Information Access in the Modern State (2005), [2.54]. The credit reporting provisions are discussed in detail in Part G.

[24]Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 (Cth), which came into effect on 21 December 2001.