OAICicon — 7 February 2014

Reminder — ICON Meeting

The next Information Contact Officer Network (ICON) meeting will be held on Tuesday 18 February 2014.

When: 9.00am–12.00pm

Where: Ground floor, 4 National Circuit, Barton, Canberra. Signage and directions will be available on entry.

The meeting agenda is below.


9.00–9.30am: Welcome and Australian Information Commissioner update

  • Prof John McMillan, Australian Information Commissioner

9.30–10.00am: Privacy Commissioner update

  • Mr Timothy Pilgrim, Privacy Commissioner

10.00–10.20am: Morning tea and networking

10.20–10.40am: Freedom of Information Commissioner update

  • Dr James Popple, Freedom of Information Commissioner

10.40–11.20am:  Discussion of the application of the FOI Act to the ‘personal information’ of APS

  • Prof John McMillan will lead discussion and invite attendees to raise practical issues on which they seek further guidance.

11.20–11.50am:  Questions and general discussion

11.50am: Close

The OAIC will provide tea and coffee. You may purchase snacks and other beverages from the on-site café.

Thank you to those who have already registered their attendance. Please RSVP by COB Thursday 13 February by emailing icon@oaic.gov.au.

Please feel free to forward this invitation to others in your agency. We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Release of agency FOI statistics 2012–13

The OAIC has published the full 2012–13 freedom of information agency statistics dataset that was used to complete the OAIC Annual Report 2012–13: Chapter 9 — Agency freedom of information activity.

The dataset shows individual agency details, and has been extracted from the web based FOI database that agencies use to submit quarterly statistical returns.

The raw dataset from the database will also be made available in CSV format on data.gov.au.

Information Commissioner review decisions

Welch and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (No. 2) [2014] AICmr 10 (31 January 2014)

Whether giving access would disclose information that would reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to the request — Documents affecting national security, defence or international relations — Whether documents contain personal information — Whether disclosure would be contrary to the public interest (CTH) FOI Act
ss 22, 33(a)(iii), 33(b), 47F

‘BA’ and Merit Protection Commissioner [2014] AICmr 9 (30 January 2014)

On 30 January 2014, the Australian Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan, handed down his decision and reasons for decision in ‘BA’ and Merit Protection Commissioner [2014] AICmr 9. The decision considered whether it is unreasonable under s 47F (personal privacy exemption) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to disclose the personal information of the successful applicant in Australian Public Service (APS) recruitment processes.

The documents considered by the Information Commissioner included the successful applicant’s response to the selection criteria for the advertised position and curriculum vitae and the comparative assessment of all applicants prepared by the selection committee.

The Information Commissioner considered the interaction between the Privacy Act 1988 and the FOI Act regarding the meaning of ‘personal information’; previous case law about recruitment processes and personal information; the influence of advances in information technology; and increasing community concern about privacy protection.

The Information Commissioner said that changes to privacy law, information technology and community attitudes to privacy protection meant that the view taken in earlier cases, that it was not unreasonable to disclose vocational assessment information about a successful applicant, needed to be reassessed.

The Information Commissioner found that, with the exception of the name of the successful applicant and a statement that the applicant had been selected for promotion, the remaining vocational assessment information was the personal information of the successful applicant and that the disclosure of this information would be unreasonable under the FOI Act and contrary to the public interest.

‘AZ’ and Australian Broadcasting Corporation [2014] AICmr 8 (30 January 2014)

Documents disclosing commercially valuable information — Documents disclosing internal and external production costs — (CTH) FOI Act s 47

‘AY’ and Australian Broadcasting Corporation [2014] AICmr 7 (28 January 2014)

Charges — Whether agency should exercise discretion to reduce or not impose charge — (CTH) FOI Act
ss 29(5)(a), 29(5)(b)

‘AX’ and Civil Aviation Safety Authority [2014] AICmr 6 (22 January 2014)

Whether documents contain personal information — Whether disclosure of personal information would be unreasonable — Whether disclosure would be contrary to the public interest — (CTH) FOI Act s 47F

Please refer to our website for a full list of Information Commissioner reviews.

Privacy law reform update

The OAIC is in the final stages of publishing the APP Guidelines. We will let you know as soon as these go live on our website.

Further information and resources are available on our website.

Privacy Awareness Week 2014

Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) will be held from 4–11 May 2014. Get involved early and sign up as a PAW partner. This is the perfect way to demonstrate to your staff and stakeholders that your agency is committed to best privacy practice. Being a partner is a non-financial arrangement; we just ask that you actively promote privacy awareness during the Week.

Please get in touch with the OAIC to find out more.


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