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Complaint Determination No 5 of 2004

Federal Privacy Commissioner April 2004 COMPLAINT DETERMINATION NO. 5 OF 2004 PARTIES TO THE COMPLAINT Complainant Respondent. HISTORYBACKGROUND, ALLEGATIONS AND REMEDIES SOUGHTTHE LAWINVESTIGATION PROCESSFINDINGS Personal information disclosed Findings IPP 11.1(a) Finding IP...

pdfComplaint Determination No 5 of 2004

Federal Privacy Commissioner April 2004

COMPLAINT DETERMINATION NO. 5 OF 2004

PARTIES TO THE COMPLAINT

HISTORYBACKGROUND, ALLEGATIONS AND REMEDIES SOUGHTTHE LAWINVESTIGATION PROCESSFINDINGS

DETERMINATION

1. Made under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act) section 52.

Parties to the Complaint

Complainant

2. 'The Complainant'.

Respondent.

3. The Australian Capital Territory Department of Justice and Community Safety (JACS).

History

4. This determination relates to a complaint lodged by the Complainant in December 1999 under section 36 of the Privacy Act.

5. The respondent to the complaint is the Australian Capital Territory Department of Justice and Community Safety (JACS). It is alleged that certain acts of JACS interfered with the Complainant's privacy.

6. I decided to investigate the relevant acts and practices of JACS pursuant to section 40 of the Privacy Act, being satisfied that there was an act or practice which may have been an interference with the privacy of an individual and that the complaint received was validly made under section 36 of the Privacy Act.

Background, allegations and remedies sought

7. The Complainant was employed by JACS and subsequently accepted a voluntary redundancy. In late 1998 while employed by JACS, the Complainant made a public interest disclosure to the Australian Capital Territory Ombudsman (the Ombudsman) under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994 (ACT) (the PID Act). The disclosure alleged that JACS had failed to enforce provisions of the Liquor Act adequately in relation to offences concerning minors and associated issues of public safety. The allegations made by the Complainant to the Ombudsman were similar to allegations that the Complainant had previously raised internally with JACS.

8. On 30 June 1999, Officer A of the Ombudsman's Office, wrote to JACS in relation to the Complainant's public interest disclosure. Officer A did not identify the Complainant. The letter said in part:

    We have received a complaint under the provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994 which we propose to investigate in accordance with section 9 of the Ombudsman Act 1989. In order that the Ombudsman may decide what action, if any, to take on these matters I seek your comments on the matters raised in the complaint. I would appreciate your reply together with a copy of any relevant documentation by 30 July 1999.

    9. On 7 July 1999, in response to this letter, an officer of JACS (JACS officer), telephoned Officer A. Officer A made a file note of the conversation. The file note records that in the course of the conversation the JACS officer advised Officer A that the JACS officer presumed the public interest disclosure was made by the Complainant and proceeded to disclose to Officer A a range of personal information about the Complainant. The JACS officer did not make a file note of the conversation.

    10. The JACS officer telephoned another officer of the Ombudsman, Officer B, on 12 July 1999. Officer B made a file note of the conversation that recorded that the JACS officer wanted to brief Officer B on the employment related issues which the JACS officer felt contributed to the Complainant pursuing the complaint.

    11. The Complainant subsequently became aware of the file notes and their contents and made a complaint to my Office.

    12. The Complainant seeks compensation of $20,000 and an apology in respect of loss or damage that was said to be suffered by the disclosure.

    The law

    13. The Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) in section 14 of the Privacy Act outline standards for handling personal information that legally bind agencies.

    14. Personal information is defined in section 6(1) as follows:

      information or an opinion (including information or an opinion forming part of a database), whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.

      15. The question in this complaint is whether there was an improper disclosure of personal information. IPP 11 deals with the disclosure of personal information and states that:

      1. A record-keeper who has possession or control of a record that contains personal information shall not disclose the information to a person, body or agency (other than the individual concerned) unless:
      1. the individual concerned is reasonably likely to have been aware, or made aware under Principle 2, that information of that kind is usually passed to that person, body or agency;
      2. the individual concerned has consented to the disclosure;
      3. the record-keeper believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of the individual concerned or of another person;
      4. the disclosure is required or authorised by or under law; or
      5. the disclosure is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law or of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of the public revenue.

      • Where personal information is disclosed for the purposes of enforcement of the criminal law or of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the purpose of the protection of the public revenue, the record-keeper shall include in the record containing that information a note of the disclosure.

      • A person, body or agency to whom personal information is disclosed under clause 1 of this Principle shall not use or disclose the information for a purpose other than the purpose for which the information was given to the person, body or agency.

      16. Section 52 of the Privacy Act provides that after I have investigated a complaint I may make a determination:

      • dismissing the complaint; or
      • finding the complaint substantiated and making a determination that:
      • the conduct should not continue or not be repeated; and/or
      • the respondent should perform any reasonable act or course of conduct to redress any loss or damage suffered by the Complainant; and/or
      • the Complainant is entitled to compensation for any loss or damage - including injury to the Complainant's feelings or humiliation suffered by the Complainant.

      Investigation process

      17. The Office's investigation of this complaint involved the following:

      • On 14 February 2000 formally advising the parties that I was opening an investigation into the complaint under section 40(1) of the Privacy Act;

      • consideration of information provided by JACS, and the Complainant and the Ombudsman;

      • providing the respondent and the Complainant with opportunities to comment on an initial preliminary view on the complaint on 23 August 2000, which found that the issues raised in the complaint indicated a breach of IPP 11.1( a) and (d) and providing two further clarifications to the preliminary view in September 2001 and March 2003 to the respondent following changes in some aspects of the preliminary findings or the reasons for the preliminary findings;

      • holding a hearing on 11 August 2003 affording the respondent (represented by Senior Counsel) the opportunity to appear before me and make submissions both orally and in writing pursuant to section 43(5) of the Privacy Act;

      • considering supplementary material provided by JACS after the hearing, including an affidavit from the JACS officer dated 15 September 2003; and

      • pursuant to section s 43(5) and the principles of procedural fairness, providing the Complainant with a final opportunity to make oral or written submissions or both on the issue of a remedy before I finalised the determination. The reason for affording the Complainant the opportunity to make submissions as to a remedy was because, on the evidence before me, I was not inclined to award compensation in the amount of $20,000 that the Complainant was seeking for loss or damage allegedly suffered. The Complainant decided not to make an oral submission and did not provide a written submission.

      Findings

      18. The Complainant alleged that the respondent improperly disclosed personal information about the Complainant to the Ombudsman. The respondent does not dispute the fact the disclosure occurred although it does dispute the details of the information disclosed. The respondent also argues that there are in fact two exceptions to IPP 11 that are applicable - IPP 11.1(a) and IPP 11.1(d) - both of which sanctioned the disclosures.

      19. Before moving to the application of the relevant exceptions I make the following findings about what personal information was disclosed.

      Personal information disclosed

      20. There are two sources of evidence about what personal information about the Complainant was disclosed to the Ombudsman; these are the file notes made by the Ombudsman's staff and the recollection, including the affidavit, of the JACS officer who made the disclosures.

      21. I am satisfied that the file notes made by the officers of the Ombudsman's Office were made at, or close to, the time at which the conversations they refer to took place.

      22. As noted above, JACS does not dispute that personal information was disclosed. JACS also acknowledged in a letter to me dated 18 February 2000 that it was unable to be precise about the content of the discussion as there were no file notes of the conversation made by the JACS officer. However, JACS has stated during the course of the investigation that it does not agree that the file notes made by Officer A and Officer B accurately describe what was disclosed. The JACS officer made an affidavit under oath on 15 September 2003 setting out in detail the officer's recollection of the circumstances of the discussions and the officer's concerns about Officer A's file note.

      23. In my view the affidavit does raise some questions about the file note made by Officer A. However, I consider that the JACS officer's affidavit does not raise doubts about the substance of the disclosures but rather corrects some details and provides further context. I discuss below my findings on each of the file notes made by the officers of the Ombudsman.

      Findings

      24. Officer A's file note records that:

      • The Complainant had experienced a number of personal problems at work over the last few years and had sought a voluntary redundancy without success.

      25. In the JACS officer's affidavit the officer does not dispute the disclosure of information about the Complainant's problems at work. However, the JACS officer disputes that the officer describes these as personal problems which in the officer's view would imply something in the Complainant's private life. The JACS officer stated that this would not properly describe the problems which were about the Complainant's work performance, the Complainant's relations with customers and the Complainant's response to performance management that included requesting a voluntary redundancy. I find that the JACS officer did disclose that the Complainant had experienced a number of problems at work and had sought a voluntary redundancy without success.

      • The Complainant worked as a penciller for a bookie at racetracks for some time.

      26. In the JACS officer's affidavit the officer expressly concedes that the officer did disclose this information. Accordingly, I find that the JACS officer did disclose this information recorded by Officer A.

      • The Complainant sought permission from JACS to hold a bookmakers licence.

      27. The JACS officer states that this note is inaccurate. In support of this contention the officer sets out the facts that the officer considers relevant; these included that the Complainant had sought approval to continue to hold a bookmaker's licence while being employed by JACS. The file note does not appear to reflect the JACS officer's explanation. However, I am satisfied that the JACS officer did disclose personal information about the Complainant's racing industry activities and about the Complainant's requests to JACS in relation to the Complainant holding a bookmakers licence.

      • The Complainant asked for a voluntary redundancy when it had been pointed out to the Complainant that the Complainant would have to resign if the licence was granted.

      28. In the JACS officer's affidavit the officer expressly concedes that the officer disclosed that the Complainant had asked for a voluntary redundancy. However, the officer clarifies that at the time the request was made the Complainant already held a bookmakers licence, and that this was obtained without first seeking JACS permission to undertake a second job. In view of this, the Complainant sought a voluntary redundancy and, and when this was denied, the Complainant had no option other than to cease operating as a bookmaker or resign from the Complainant's position at JACS. I am satisfied that the JACS officer disclosed the fact that the Complainant had sought a voluntary redundancy and about the Complainant's employment options. I also find that Officer A's file note is inaccurate in relation to the status of the Complainant's bookmaker's licence.

      • The Complainant had been refused a voluntary redundancy by JACS and then did not proceed with the licence application.

      29. As noted above, the JACS officer expressly concedes that the officer disclosed that the Complainant had been refused a voluntary redundancy. However, I am also satisfied, on the basis of material provided by the JACS officer that the Complainant already held a bookmakers licence at the time the Complainant requested a voluntary redundancy. I therefore find that the JACS officer did disclose that the Complainant had been refused a voluntary redundancy. I also find that Officer A's file note is inaccurate in stating that the Complainant 'did not then proceed with the Complainant's licence application' as the Complainant already held a licence at this point.

      • The Complainant may have fielded illegally since that time.

      30. The JACS officer states in the officer's affidavit that this statement is an inaccurate reflection of what the officer said. The officer states that 'the reference to 'illegality' presumably records imperfectly my reference to the Complainant's lack of approval to field as a bookmaker' without approval under the Public Sector Management Act 1994. I am satisfied that the JACS officer's explanation is likely to be accurate and I find that the officer did not say that the Complainant 'may have fielded illegally since that time'. However, I also find that the JACS officer did disclose information about how public service rules apply to the Complainant's activities as a bookmaker.

      31. I find that the above disclosures amount to a disclosure of personal information for the purpose of IPP 11(1). To avoid a breach of IPP 11 the disclosure must fall within one of the exceptions contained in IPP 11. JACS has submitted that the disclosures fall within the exceptions in IPP 11.1(a) and IPP 11.1(d).

      IPP 11.1(a).

      32. IPP 11.1(a) permits the disclosure of personal information where 'the individual concerned is reasonably likely to have been aware … that information of that kind is usually passed to that person, body or agency'.

      33. Set out in the Office's Plain English Guidelines to Information Privacy Principles 8-11 (pp. 39-43) issued in November 1996 are factors that I might take into account in deciding when the individual concerned 'is reasonably likely to be aware' of a particular disclosure. These factors include the relationship that the person concerned has with the agency; the occupation and life experience of the person and their previous actions. I also conclude that I can consider the relevance of the personal information for the purpose for which it was disclosed.

      34. In this case, the Complainant was, at the time of the disclosure, an experienced employee of JACS and the Complainant's duties included inspection of liquor licenses. The Complainant had been through a number of other grievance and complaint processes, including with the involvement of external bodies.

      35. A reasonable person in this position - that is a person with reasonable familiarity with grievance and investigation processes, who was making a public interest disclosure about a matter that had previously been raised internally - would, be 'reasonably likely to be aware' that JACS would disclose some information in discussions with the Ombudsman, even if, as in this case, the Complainant's name had not specifically been mentioned by the Ombudsman's staff.

      36. In my view, a reasonable person in the Complainant's position would have been reasonably likely to be aware that JACS might disclose some personal information and this information could include the identity of the Complainant and the fact that the Complainant had previously made the same complaint internally to JACS. As such, I find that IPP 11.1(a) permitted JACS to disclose personal information about the Complainant's identity and the fact that the Complainant had previously made the same complaints internally.

      37. The other information the JACS officer provided was about a series of disputes, grievances and complaints between the Complainant and JACS on matters to do with the Complainant's work with JACS, the Complainant's working relationship and the Complainant's outside interests in bookmaking. In my view, these points were not intrinsically related to the public interest complaint which was about the way that JACS enforced the provisions of the Liquor Act in relation to offences concerning minors and associated issues of public safety.

      38. JACS argued during the course of the investigation that these disclosures were intended to demonstrate that there were factors in the Complainant's history that were relevant to the Ombudsman in considering if the PID complaint might be 'frivolous or vexatious', in accordance with section 17(1)(a) of the PID Act or in similar terms in section 6(1)(b) of the Ombudsman Act 1989 (ACT) (Ombudsman Act).

      39. I have therefore considered whether a reasonable person with a history with JACS similar to that of the Complainant would have been 'reasonably likely to be aware' that personal information of that kind would usually be passed to the Ombudsman to establish that the complaint was frivolous or vexatious.

      40. In my view, an individual would require a detailed understanding of the Ombudsman's legislation to have been reasonably likely to be aware that JACS might disclose information that went to whether the PID complaint was 'frivolous or vexatious'. I am not satisfied that a person in the Complainant's position would have had such a detailed understanding. As such, I find that IPP 11.1(a) did not permit JACS to disclose any personal information beyond that which I earlier found was permitted, namely information about the Complainant's identity and previous complaints.

      41. I note here that Australia's privacy law is not intended to provide an absolute right to privacy. It is built to accommodate other public interests, including the Ombudsman's role in promoting proper administrative practice. I recognise that this and similar roles cannot operate without a flow of information. However, the law does not say that individuals give up all rights to privacy in this context.

      42. The Privacy Act places agencies in a position of responsibility in relation to personal information and requires them to recognise that it can cover very sensitive matters that can have considerable impact on individuals concerned, even when the disclosure is authorised.

      Finding

      43. For the reasons set out above I find that IPP 11.1(a) permitted JACS to disclose personal information about the Complainant's identity and that the Complainant previously had made the same complaints internally. However, IPP 11.1(a) did not permit the disclosure of the other information, as listed in Officer A's file note, about the Complainant's background and the Complainant's working relationship with JACS.

      IPP 11.1(d)

      44. IPP 11.1(d) permits the disclosure of personal information where the disclosure is 'required or authorised by law'.

      45. JACS contended that the disclosure of personal information about the Complainant was authorised by sections 6(1) and 9(4) of the Ombudsman Act and section 17(1) of the PID Act.

      46. Section 9(4) of the Ombudsman Act states that 'subject to this Act the Ombudsman may for the purposes of this Act, obtain such information from such persons, or make such inquiries, as he or she thinks fit'. This provision authorised JACS to respond to the Ombudsman's request for comments.

      47. However, in my opinion the authority given by this provision is not unrestricted. Any disclosure of personal information in these circumstances should be limited by a test of relevance. Without a test of relevance IPP 11 would be rendered nugatory as any general provision that provides authority to gather information would, in theory, permit the disclosure of virtually unlimited and unrelated personal information.

      48. The Ombudsman's request for information was couched as follows:

        In order that the Ombudsman may decide what action, if any, to take on these matters I seek your comments on the matters raised in the complaint. I would appreciate your reply together with a copy of any relevant documentation...

        49. In the first instance, JACS was being asked to comment on the 'matters raised in the complaint' and to provide 'a copy of any relevant (my emphasis) documentation'. Significantly, the Ombudsman's letter did not name the Complainant, or seek information about the Complainant; nor did it directly seek information about whether the complaint may have been frivolous or vexatious.

        50. I am not suggesting that it would be improper or irrelevant to raise any matter that was not referred to directly in the request for comment. However, I do consider that the question of relevance is one I can take into account in deciding if a particular disclosure is authorised by law.

        51. I accept that it will not always be clear to an agency responding to a request from the Ombudsman, particularly in the early stages of an investigation what sort of information will be relevant to the request. It is also the case that taking too narrow a view of relevance in responding to a request for information from the Ombudsman or other regulator could impede the important work of the regulator and for this reason be contrary to the public interest.

        52. As noted above, JACS argues that the disclosures were made to alert the Ombudsman to the possibility that the PID complaint may have been frivolous or vexatious or not made in good faith.

        53. Section 17(1) of the PID Act and section 6(1)(b)(i) of the Ombudsman Act give discretion to the proper authority (in this case the Ombudsman) to decline to investigate a PID that is frivolous or vexatious.

        54. Section 17(1) of the PID Act provides:

        1. A proper authority may decline to act on a public interest disclosure received by it if it considers- (a) that the disclosure is frivolous or vexatious.

        55. Section 6(1)(b)(i) of the Ombudsman Act provides:

        1. Where a complaint has been made to the ombudsman with respect to action taken by an agency, the ombudsman may, in his or her discretion, decide not to investigate the action or, if investigation has commenced, decide not investigate the action further-
          (b) if, in the opinion of the ombudsman- (i) the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or was not made in good faith.

          56. It was not entirely clear from the Ombudsman's correspondence as to whether the investigation was under the PID Act, the Ombudsman Act or both. I have therefore, for completeness, considered both alternatives.

          57. In this case, the letter from the Ombudsman asked for information as follows:

            In order that the Ombudsman may decide what action, if any, to take on these matters I seek your comments on the matters raised in the complaint.

            58. I accept that this request for comment includes comment on issues relating to whether or not the PID should be 'declined' as being 'frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith' as it indicates that the Ombudsman may decide not to take any action in relation to the PID.

            59. The JACS officer states in the officer's affidavit that the officer's intention in making the officer's comments about the Complainant was by way of a submission to the Ombudsman in relation to the sections mentioned above.

            60. There is no record in Officer A 's file note that this intention was specifically discussed and Officer A advised my Office in May 2000 that the Officer did not consider at the time that JACS officer's comments were such a submission.

            61. I note Officer B's file note does state that 'it was not clear to me how the motivation for making a complaint affected the substance of a matter'.

            62. The then Ombudsman has since advised that he considers that the comments made by the JACS officer could constitute a submission about whether the Complainant's complaint was frivolous or vexatious.

            63. I find that the JACS officer intended, by the officer's comments in relation to the Complainant, to persuade the Ombudsman not to take any action in this matter.1

            64. However, the issue in the present case is whether the personal information disclosed by JACS went beyond what was relevant to the Ombudsman in deciding whether to decline to investigate the matter further.

            65. To answer this question it is necessary to consider the meaning of the expressions 'frivolous or vexatious' and 'in good faith' so as to determine what personal information was and was not relevant to the decision to be made by the Ombudsman.

            66. Counsel for JACS and Counsel Assisting in this matter referred me to a number of authorities concerning what is meant by 'frivolous or vexatious' and 'frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith.' For example, in Aspar Autobarn Co-operative Society v Dovala Pty Ltd (1987) 16 FCR 284 at 287 the Federal Court considered the meaning of vexatious to mean: 'instituted without sufficient grounds for the purpose of causing trouble or annoyance to the defendant'.

            67. In Pridmore v Magenta Nominees Pty Limited (1999) 161 ALR 458, the Federal Court stated as follows:

              The terms "vexatious" and "frivolous" have been used interchangeably (The Atlantic Star [1974] AC 436 at 464-468). "Frivolous" has been held to be apt to describe proceedings in which the Plaintiff's claim is so obviously untenable that it cannot possibly succeed (Burton v Shire of Barnsdale (1908) 7 CLR 76 at 92). "Vexatious" has been held to be apt to describe an action which is a sham and which cannot possibly succeed (Wills v Earl Beauchamp (1856) 11 PD 59, 63).

              68. I am of the view that the expression 'frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith' (the broader of the two formulations relevant here) requires a consideration of objective elements (namely the merits of the claim) and subjective elements (namely whether or not the claim was brought for an ulterior purpose of causing trouble or annoyance).

              1. Before I discuss this question further I note that in its submission of 15 September 2003, prepared by Counsel appearing for JACS queries whether I will be forming the view that the JACS officer acted from a 'base' motive in disclosing personal information about The Complainant to the Ombudsman. To put this beyond doubt I note here that I did not consider whether the JACS officer was motivated by any ill feeling towards the Complainant.

              69. The question that Counsel Assisting has suggested I should ask is: 'did the JACS officer go too far in the provision of personal information to the Ombudsman for this purpose?'

              70. Counsel Assisting has further submitted as follows:

                While it might be accepted that it was relevant for the JACS officer to identify the Complainant and advise that the Complainant had previously made the same complaint internally to JACS, was it relevant to advise that the Complainant has been in dispute with JACS over aspects of employment? Was it relevant to advise that the Complainant has unsuccessfully sought a voluntary redundancy, or that the Complainant had worked as a penciller, or that the Complainant had sought permission to hold a bookmaker's licence? Was it relevant to advise that JACS were suspicious that the Complainant had "fielded illegally"?

                71. I am satisfied that the JACS officer did go too far in the provision of personal information to the Ombudsman. I find that it was not relevant to go into details of the dispute between the Complainant and JACS over aspects of the Complainant's employment. I find that it was not relevant to advise that the Complainant had unsuccessfully sought a voluntary redundancy, or that the Complainant had worked as a penciller, or that the Complainant had sought permission to hold a bookmaker's licence. Nor do I find it was relevant to advise that JACS were suspicious that the Complainant had "fielded illegally".

                72. It is not necessary for me to make a finding as to the reason why this information was provided. It is enough that I find that this information was not relevant to the question of whether or not the PID was 'frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith' and therefore was not authorised by law under IPP 11.1(d). Consequently, I find that JACS breached IPP 11.1 by disclosing personal information about the Complainant.

                Finding

                73. In these circumstances, I find that it was not relevant to the question of whether the Complainant's public interest disclosure was frivolous or vexatious for JACS to disclose detailed information about the Complainant's background and the Complainant's working relationship with JACS and accordingly the disclosure of this personal information was not authorised by IPP 11.1(d).

                Determination

                74. The issues in this complaint go to some difficult issues of judgement for agencies that are both responsible for protecting the privacy of their employees and customers and that also have an obligation to cooperate with the important work of a range of regulators.

                75. In my view this case highlights the need for agencies to think about these issues before they are faced with the need to make decisions about disclosures of personal information.

                76. In accordance with section 52(1)(b)(i)(B) of the Privacy Act, I find the Complainant's complaint that the Complainant's privacy has been interfered with substantiated and I declare that JACS has engaged in conduct constituting an interference with the privacy of the Complainant by disclosing personal information about the Complainant to the Ombudsman's Office that was not authorised by IPP 11.1(a) or IPP 11.1(d) and that JACS should not repeat such conduct.

                77. The Complainant submitted that the appropriate remedy for JACS' breach of the Complainant's privacy was a letter of apology from the JACS officer and financial compensation of $20,000. The Complainant claimed that the JACS officer's actions damaged the Complainant's reputation and effectively ended the Complainant's career with the Public Service.

                78. In relation to compensation, I note that the disclosures that occurred were to two staff of the Ombudsman's Office. The disclosures did not occur outside the confines of the investigating team of that Office and were not known more widely in that Office or in the community. For these reasons, the Complainant was not able to demonstrate to my satisfaction that the Complainant suffered the damage alleged in the complaint. For this reason I have decided not to make a declaration as to compensation.

                79. As the respondent in this matter is JACS, and not the JACS officer, I am unable to make an order that specifically requires that the JACS officer apologise to the Complainant. However, I declare, in accordance with section 52(1)(b)(ii) of the Privacy Act, that JACS should apologise to the Complainant for disclosing the Complainant's personal information that was not relevant to the Ombudsman's investigation of the Complainant's PID complaint.

                Malcolm Crompton Federal Privacy Commissioner

                Dated 19 April 2004