Privacy complaints to OAIC grew 12% in FY19

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 24 October, 2019

Privacy complaints to OAIC grew 12% in FY19

Privacy complaints to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner grew 12% last financial year to 3306, according to the office’s latest annual report.

The majority of complaints were driven by privacy practices across six sectors, with the finance sector being the worst offender, representing 13% of complaints.

This is followed by complaints about the Australian Government (12%), health service providers (10%), telecommunications providers (7%), retailers (5%) and online services providers (5%).

During the quarter, 2920 privacy complaints were also finalised, up 6% from the prior year, with the average time to resolve a privacy complaint reaching 4.4 months.

The most common issues raised with the OAIC related to the use and disclosure, security, access, collection and quality of personal information.

Meanwhile the OAIC received a total of 950 notifications under the Notifiable Data Breach scheme, and 928 applications for an OAIC review of freedom of information (FOI) requests.

Total FOI requests to Australian government agencies and ministries grew by 13% last financial year to 38,879, with the vast majority (83%) of these being for documents containing personal information.

Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said the office’s annual reports highlight some concerning trends.

“The trends we are seeing reinforce the importance of our mission: to increase public trust and confidence in the protection of personal information and access to government-held information,” she said.

“Our annual report shows that organisations must act to meet the community’s expectations for information handling and management in a rapidly evolving environment. The current focus on digital platforms in Australia and overseas highlights the scale of the issues we face in safeguarding personal data in our data-driven economy.”

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