Privacy Act snapshot
What does the Privacy Act cover?
The Privacy Act regulates how your personal information is handled. For example, it covers:
- how your personal information is collected (e.g. the personal information you provide when you fill in a form)
- how it is then used and disclosed
- its accuracy
- how securely it is kept
- your general right to access that information.
The Act also covers more specific matters, such as:
- the use of your tax file number
- how credit worthiness information about you is handled by credit reporting agencies and credit providers.
There are certain types of personal information that are especially important to your privacy, such as your health or medical information. This information is classed as 'sensitive information' under the Privacy Act. The Act has particular provisions that require that sensitive information be managed with particular care.
How does the Privacy Act work?
The principles contained in the Privacy Act are not prescriptive. That is, they don't tell agencies and organisations what they must do in each situation.
Rather, they offer principles about the way in which personal information should be handled, and each agency or organisation needs to apply those principles to its own situation.
If an agency or organisation breaches the privacy principles, our Office may investigate the matter. Individuals can also make a privacy complaint to us about an agency or organisation if they think their information has been mishandled. See Complaints.