Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 415. Updated Tuesday, 24 June 2014

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Privacy agencies to cooperate

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland (DPCI), agreeing to collaborate on investigations and other information.

Signed by the Australian Information Commissioner, John McMillan and Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, the MOU outlines how the two authorities will cooperate on consumer and business education, new laws, government and self-regulatory enforcement, staffing and resource issues, and information relating to investigations.

"Each Participant will designate a primary contact for the purposes of requests for assistance and other communications under this Memorandum," according to the MOU.

Requests for assistance must specify the purpose for which the information requested will be used and, prior to requesting assistance, the authority would perform a preliminary inquiry to ensure that the request was consistent with the scope of the MOU and didn't impose "an excessive burden" on the other authority.

OAIC to share with Ireland

According to the MOU, the authority requesting assistance "will pay all costs of executing the Request".

"When the cost of providing or obtaining information under this Memorandum is substantial, the Requested Participant may ask the Requesting Participant to pay those costs as a condition of proceeding with the Request," it said.

"In such an event, the Participants will consult on the issue at the request of either Participant."

The MOU covers "mutual assistance in the enforcement of laws protecting personal information in the private sector".

In the document, the OAIC and the DPCI recognise the nature of the modern global economy, the increase in circulation and exchange of personal information across borders, the increasing complexity and pervasiveness of information technologies, and the resulting need for increased cross-border enforcement cooperation.

The agreement also recognises the powers of the Australian Information Commissioner, including investigative functions, and authorises the DPCI to carry out investigations while complying with Australian privacy and data laws.

A full copy of the MOU can be accessed at this PS News link.

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