Posted on January 28, 2015 by

Privacy Law Changes – Disclosures to NBN Co

The Office of Local Government (OLG) has recently issued a circular to councils regarding the disclosure of personal information to NBN Co Limited (NBN Co) for the delivery of the National Broadband Network.

The circular informs councils that a public interest direction (Direction) has been made under s41 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIPA) titled ‘Direction on the Disclosure of Information by Council to NBN Co Limited for the delivery of the National Broadband Network’.

The Direction, which will remain in force until May 2016, allows a council to disclose the address of land owners to NBN Co to enable NBN Co to write to land owners notifying them of its intention to inspect land and install and maintain NBN facilities provided that:

  1. NBN Co has approached the Council in writing;
  2. The Council is satisfied that the information is to be used by NBN Co for the proper and lawful function/s of that agency in accordance with Clause 17 of Schedule 3 to the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth); and
  3. The Council is satisfied that the personal information is reasonably necessary for the exercise of NBN Co’s function/s with respect to the inspection of land, installation and maintenance of NBN facilities.

The Direction permits Council to disclose personal information collected for rating purposes to NBN CO for a purpose other than that for which it was collected. Without the Direction, such disclosure would be in breach of the Information Privacy Principle (IPP)contained in s18 of the PPIPA.

Under the PPIPA, persons who are concerned that a council has failed to deal with their personal information otherwise than in accordance with the Privacy Principles may seek an internal review of council’s conduct. If dissatisfied with that review, they can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of that conduct.

As set out above, the disclosure of personal information to NBN Co is conditional. Councils should ensure that these conditions are satisfied before making any disclosure. If the conditions are not satisfied and personal information is disclosed, a council will have breached the IPP set out in s18 of the PPIPA.