What can I complain about?
The Privacy Act gives you the right to make a complaint if you believe an Australian or ACT government agency, or a private sector organisation covered by the Act, has mishandled your personal information contained in a record.
While State and Northern Territory government agencies are not covered by the Act, they may be covered by other legislation. For more information, see the State and Territory Privacy Laws.
In general you cannot complain about individuals acting in their own capacity, except in limited circumstances such as in relation to the handling of Tax File Number information or the handling of personal information on the Personal Property Securities Register.
Before you can lodge a complaint with the Office, you will generally need to complain directly to the agency or organisation first.
'Personal information' is any information that can reasonably identify an individual.
Not all information is considered personal information. For example, your phone number by itself or a photo of your belongings may not be personal information. But if your phone number or the photo is accompanied by other personally identifying information such as your name then it is likely to be personal information.
The Privacy Act protects the personal information of individuals currently living.
The information of deceased people is not covered by the Act.
A 'record' can include a document, a database, or a photograph or other pictorial representation of an individual.
This means that general conversations about individuals will not be covered by the Act, unless the conversation is being recorded, or the conversation is about information contained in a record.