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Discussion Paper: Use of IPND information to provide Location Dependent Carriage Services; Submission to DCITA (August 2007)

Submission to DCITA Our reference: 2006-155-01 The Manager IPND, Numbering and ACMA Liaison Section Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts GPO Box 2154 CANBERRA ACT 2601 Dear Sir / Madam Discussion Paper: Use of IPND information to provide Location Dependent...

pdfDiscussion Paper: Use of IPND information to provide Location Dependent Carriage Services; Submission to DCITA (August 2007)

Submission to DCITA

Our reference: 2006-155-01

The Manager IPND, Numbering and ACMA Liaison Section Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts GPO Box 2154 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear Sir / Madam

Discussion Paper: Use of IPND information to provide Location Dependent Carriage Services

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (the Office) welcomes the opportunity to offer comments on the Discussion Paper titled "Use of IPND information to provide Location Dependent Carriage Services" (the Discussion Paper). The Discussion Paper is an important step in seeking input from stakeholders on the proposal to use the IPND to provide Location Dependent Carriage Services (LDCS), including how individuals' personal information will be handled.

Creation of a routing table for LDCS purposes

The Discussion Paper notes that a routing table is required to facilitate the automatic routing of calls. It proposes that the routing table will be prepared using information from the IPND and will consist of phone numbers and information such as postcodes, Census Collection Districts standard zone units and exchange areas. The Office considers that there are a number of privacy related impacts that should be taken into consideration regarding this proposal.

The Discussion Paper claims that carriage service providers (CSPs) and their contractors will require access to the IPND to prepare the routing table. However, it is unclear if this means that CSPs and their contractors will have access to all the personal information held on the IPND, rather than the limited subset of information required to prepare the routing table, for example, post codes and phone numbers. The Office submits that if CSPs and their contractors are given access to the IPND for the purposes of creating a routing table, they should only be provided with access to information that is necessary for this purpose. If CSPs and their contractors are provided with wider access, the Office suggests that this could amount to unauthorised access to IPND information as set out under Information Privacy Principle 4 in relation to Commonwealth agencies and their contractors and, in terms of organisations, National Privacy Principle 4.1 in the Privacy Act 1988.

However, if preparing the LDCS routing table requires CSPs and their contractors to be given full access to the IPND, a number of different privacy issues arise, particularly, secondary use and disclosure and the notice that should be provided to individuals.

IPND - Use and Disclosure / Notice

The Office's community attitudes research shows that individuals are more reluctant to give organisations their home telephone number than all other types of information, with the exception of bank account details and income. The Office's research also shows that this sensitivity has increased over the years[1].

When individuals apply for a telecommunications service they are required to provide their personal information to their CSP for inclusion in the IPND. This in itself limits the control and choice individuals have in relation to their personal information. The Office submits that as disclosure of individuals' personal information to the IPND is compulsory there should be a prohibition on the secondary use and disclosure of the information, and penalties should be imposed where breaches are discovered. The Office agrees that an amendment to the Telecommunications Act 1997 is the most effective and comprehensive way these protections can be achieved. Additionally, it may also be necessary under IPP2 or NPP1 for telephone subscribers to be made aware that their personal information may be disclosed to CSPs or their contractors for the purpose of creating a LDCS routing table.

Further, although the information in the LDCS routing table will not contain individuals' names, it may be possible for CSPs or their contractor to ascertain the identity of an individual using some or all of the data contained in the table and matching it with external material. This ability may mean the information in the LDCS table would constitute personal information as defined in section 6(1) in the Privacy Act. For this reason, the Office suggests that there be restrictions on who can access the routing table and that there be limitations on the purposes for which the information in the routing table can be used or disclosed. These restrictions should also be subject to penalties to guard against improper use or disclosure.

The inclusion of unlisted and mobile numbers in the LDCS routing table

The Discussion Paper asks stakeholders to consider whether unlisted and mobile numbers should be included in the LDCS routing table. The Office believes that, albeit that unique issues exist, there are good reasons for excluding these numbers from the LDCS routing table.

The option to have an unlisted number is one way that individuals can retain some control over who has access to the personal information that they provide when they subscribe for a telephone service. Despite the fact that there is an additional cost attached to having an unlisted number, many individuals opt to restrict access to their personal information, including their phone number, so that they can control the use and disclosure of this information. Of course these protections must be balanced with other community interests such as health and safety and unlisted information will be disclosed if, for example, this information is required by emergency services personnel or the police. However, the Office suggests that it is not clear whether it would be within an individual's reasonable expectations that their unlisted information will be disclosed for the provision of LDCS. For these reasons, the Office does not support unlisted numbers being used for the provision of LDCS without the consent of the individual.

In terms of mobile phone subscribers, mobile phone numbers are not necessarily linked to one location and therefore, considering the purpose of LDCS routing, the Office would question the rationale of including mobile numbers in the routing table.

Calling Line Identification

The Office is unaware whether Calling Line Identification (CLI) of unlisted numbers occurs through the provision of LDCS. For the reasons discussed above, the Office would not support the disclosure of unlisted numbers via CLI to businesses through the provision of LDCS.

The Office would welcome the opportunity to discuss these comments further with the Department. The contact officer is Linda King on telephone 9284 9820 or Brian Kent on telephone 9284 9773.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Solomon

Director, Policy

13 August 2007

[1]Community Attitudes Towards Privacy 2004, Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Located at http://www.privacy.gov.au/publications/rcommunity/index.html