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Privacy Law

Definitions 2

Permitted General Situation

There are some APP’s that do not apply if a permitted general situation arises. These situations are described in section 16A. These include:

  • lessening or preventing a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or safety

  • taking appropriate action in relation to suspected unlawful activity or serious misconduct

  • locating a person reported as missing

  • asserting a legal or equitable claim

  • conducting an alternative dispute resolution process


Permitted Health Situation

APP’s 3 and 6 do not apply where a permitted health situation arises. These situations are described in section n16B and include:

  • Where it is necessary to provide a health service to the individual, and either collection is required or authorised by law or the information is collected in compliance with rules of a competent medical body that deals with obligations of professional confidentiality, which bind the organisation.

  • Where use or disclosure is necessary for medical research or statistical analysis, it is impracticable to obtain consent, the use or disclosure is done under guidelines approved under section 95A, and the organisation reasonably believes that the recipient with not disclose the information.

  • Where the organisation has obtained the information while providing a health service and disclosure is necessary to reduce or prevent a serious threat to life, health or safety of a genetic relative of the individual, and use or disclosure is in accordance with guidelines approved under section 95A, and the recipient is a genetic relative of the individual.

  • Where the organisation provides a health service to the individual who is physically or legally incapable of giving consent or communicating it and the recipient is a person responsible for the individual. Also another person – a carer – must be satisfied that disclosure is necessary to provide appropriate care or treatment or that disclosure is made compassionately. The disclosure must not be contrary to any wish expressed by the individual before they became unable to give or communicate consent. Disclosure is to be limited to what is reasonable and necessary.


Personal Information

Personal information is defined as any ‘information or opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is readily identifiable. It is irrelevant whether the information is true or not and whether it is recorded in a material form. It can be just a belief held by someone.


Primary Purpose

The purposes for the use and disclosure of personal information is divided into the primary purpose and secondary purposes. The primary purpose is that for which the information was provided. An organisation is free to deal with information for that purpose.


Reasonable Expectation

Reasonableness is a concept that appears in a multitude of places throughout the law. It brings notions of what is fair to expect of a person and what is fair of them to do or think. Eg: the reasonable man test. A reasonable expectation is an expectation conceived of fairly and rationally, based on available facts, and which would be expected of a person with average mental faculties.


Reasonable Step

What constitutes a reasonable step in the protection of personal information depends on the sensitivity of the information, the nature of the organisation (size, resources, business model), the possible consequences to the person of taking no steps, the likely harm arising from taking any proposed step, and the practicability of any proposed step.


Secondary Purpose

The primary purpose in dealing with information is that for which the information was provided, while a secondary purpose is any other purpose. There are conditions under which some possible secondary purposes are allowable.


Sensitive Information

Sensitive information is information about an individual’s:

  • racial or ethnic origin,

  • religious beliefs or affiliations

  • philosophical beliefs,

  • political opinions or membership of a political association,

  • membership of a professional or trade association or trade union,

  • criminal record,

  • sexual orientation or practices,

  • biometrics (for identification purposes).

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