Publication date: 15 November 2023

The OAIC is reviewing the Privacy (Persons Reported as Missing) Rule 2014 (Rule) to decide whether and how it needs to be updated to ensure it remains fit for purpose. The Rule is due to sunset on 1 April 2024.

The OAIC is seeking submissions from interested individuals, government agencies and organisations on the Information Commissioner remaking the Rule in the terms of the consultation draft, which is included below.

The closing date for submissions is 5 pm AEDT Friday 15 December 2023.

Background

The Rule is a legislative instrument made by the Information Commissioner under subsection 16A(2) of the Privacy Act 1988. It sets out the circumstances in which:

  • an APP entity may use or disclose personal information about a person reported as missing; and
  • a ‘locating body’ may collect sensitive information about a person reported as missing.

The collection, use and disclosure of personal information in accordance with the Rule will constitute a ‘permitted general situation’ under subsection 16A(1) of the Privacy Act (item 3 of the table).

The existence of a permitted general situation provides an exception to the general prohibitions under the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) against an APP entity collecting sensitive information about an individual (APP 3.4(b)) and using or disclosing personal information for a secondary purpose (APP 6.2(c)).

Proposed approach

The OAIC proposes that the Commissioner remake the Rule with minor changes and updates. These include the following:

  • replacing the term ‘locating body’ with ‘locating entity’
  • removing the Salvation Army Family Tracing Service from the list of ‘locating entities’, due to the Service no longer being in operation
  • including a note under clause 6 to clarify that after a missing person is found, any subsequent use or disclosure of personal information must comply with APP 6.

Consultation draft

Download the consultation draft [PDF 202.3KB].

Consultation questions

We ask that interested individuals, agencies and organisations consider the following questions. They are not intended to limit the issues that may be raised. You may wish to respond to some or all questions, or to raise other issues within the scope of the consultation.

  1. Are you supportive of the proposed approach to remaking the Rule?
  2. Is the Rule fit-for-purpose?
  3. Does the Consultation Draft successfully achieve the balance between assisting entities to handle personal information in a way that facilitates the location of persons who have been reported as missing, and the privacy interests of the missing individual?

How to provide comments

Submissions can be made to:

EmailMissingpersons.privacy@oaic.gov.au
Post GPO Box 5288
Sydney NSW 2001

The closing date for submissions is 5pm AEDT, Friday 15 December 2023.

Although you may send your comments by email or post, email is preferred.

We intend to make all submissions publicly available. Please indicate when making your submission if it contains confidential information you don’t want made public and why it should not be published.

Requests for access to confidential comments will be determined in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Privacy collection statement

The OAIC will only use the personal information it collects during this consultation for the purpose of considering the issues outlined above.