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Media Release: Access Card Bill makes progress in promoting privacy, says Privacy Commissioner
The Privacy Commissioner, Karen Curtis, has acknowledged the progress made with the second public exposure draft of the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill 2007, in advancing privacy protections for the Government's proposed Access Card.
"While there are still a number of steps that can be taken to enhance the Access Card's privacy safeguards, the Bill provides protections for confidentiality and information integrity which usefully adds to what was in the first Bill," Ms Curtis said.
In a submission to the Department of Human Services, Ms Curtis recommended additional privacy safeguards to supplement the Bill, including:
- to advance the object of the Bill that the card should not become an ID card, the photograph on the card surface should be made optional;
- making the Bill's Administration Rules detailed and clear in how they affect information handling;
- creating civil remedies to allow individuals to seek redress where Access Card information is mishandled; and
- having a regular statutory review mechanism for the card.
Ms Curtis welcomed the following aspects of the Bill:
- the oversight mechanisms it proposes, including review and appeals processes, mandatory consultation with the Privacy Commissioner, Parliamentary scrutiny of Administration Rules, and annual reporting requirements;
- its listing of the Bill's objects and the intention that the Act should be interpreted to limit impacts on privacy;
- its provisions on confidentiality, and the combination of offences and infringement notices; and
- the limits it sets on the disclosure of protected information, such as for law enforcement purposes.
For media comment, call 0407 663 968.