Australia: The Australian Privacy Principles - one set of privacy principles to rule us all Part 1

Last Updated: 7 July 2012
Article by Avinesh Chand

The new Australian Privacy Principles attempt to keep pace with changing technology, emerging privacy issues and developments in privacy law in Australia and internationally.

The proposed amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 currently before the Australian Parliament will, when enacted, end complexity and confusion in the application of privacy laws by creating a single set of Australian Privacy Principles ("APP") that will apply to both Commonwealth agencies and private sector organisations.

The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012 seeks to implement the Government's first stage response to the recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission following its inquiry into Australian privacy laws by amongst other things, amending the Privacy Act to consolidate the current Information Privacy Principles ("IPPs") and National Privacy Principles ("NPPs") into the APPs. The consolidation of the privacy principles, the cornerstone of the privacy protection framework of the Privacy Act 1988, will foster national and international consistency in privacy regulation and simplify the application of privacy laws.

As with the IPPs and NPPs, when enacted, the APPs will regulate the collection, holding, use and disclosure of personal information that is included in records. The APPs will apply to government agencies to which the IPPs currently apply and to private sector organisations to which the NPPs currently apply (collectively referred to as APP entities in the Bill).

Most of the APPs are based to some extent on the existing IPPs and NPPs. However, the APPs also include some significant changes from the IPPs and NPPs in order to keep pace with changing technology, emerging privacy issues and developments in privacy law in Australia and internationally.

We look at the first half in this edition, with the rest to be considered in the next edition of Insights.

APP 1 – Open and transparent management of personal information

APP 1 requires APP entities to manage personal information in an open and transparent way. This includes APP entities being required:

  • to take reasonable steps to implement practices, procedures and systems relating to the entity's functions or activities that will ensure that it will comply with the APPs; and
  • to having a clearly expressed and up-to-date policy about the management of personal information. An entity's privacy policy must contain information about the kinds of personal information the entity collects; how the entity collects and holds personal information; how an individual may seek access to personal information held by the entity or seek correction of such information; how an individual may complain about the breach of an APP and how the entity will deal with such a complaint; whether the entity is likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients and if so, the countries in which such recipients are likely to be located, if it is practicable to specify those countries (APP 1.4).

APP 1 is based on NPP 5. There is no current equivalent of APP 1 in the IPPs.

APP 2 – Anonymity and pseudonymity

Under APP 2, individuals must have the option of dealing with an APP entity anonymously or through the use of a pseudonym in relation to a particular matter unless:

  • the APP entity is required or authorised by or under an Australian law or a court/tribunal order to deal with individuals who have identified themselves; or
  • it is impracticable for the APP entity to deal with individuals who have not identified themselves.

APP 2 is based on NPP 8. Again, there is no current equivalent of APP 2 in the IPPs.

APP 3 – Collection of solicited personal information

APP 3 applies to personal information solicited by an APP entity. Under it:

  • if an APP entity is an agency, it must not collect personal information (other than sensitive information) unless the information is reasonably necessary for or directly related to, one or more of the entity's functions or activities;
  • if an APP entity is an organisation, it must not collect personal information (other than sensitive information) unless the information is reasonably necessary for one or more of the entity's functions or activities.

In relation to sensitive information (currently defined at section 6 of the Privacy Act and which includes information relating to racial or ethnic, political opinion, religious beliefs, sexual preferences and health information), an APP entity must not collect sensitive information about an individual unless:

  • the individual consents to the collection and;
  • if the entity is an agency, the information is reasonably necessary for or directly related to, one or more of the entity's functions or activities; or
  • if the entity is an organisation, the information is reasonably necessary for one or more of the entity's functions or activities; or
  • one of the exceptions at APP 3.4 applies.

An APP entity can solicit sensitive information in some cases without complying with APP 3.3, including where the collection is required or authorised by or under an Australian law or a court/tribunal order.

APP 3 is based on IPP 2 and NPP 1.

APP 4 – Dealing with unsolicited information

Where an APP entity receives personal information and the entity did not solicit the information, the entity must, within a reasonable period of time determine whether or not it could have collected the information under APP 3 if the information had been solicited by the entity (APP 4.1).

Where the APP entity determines that it could not have collected the personal information and the information is not contained in a Commonwealth record, it must, as soon as practicable but only if it is lawful and reasonable to do so, destroy the information or de-identify it (APP 4.3).

If APP 4.3 does not apply to the personal information, then APPs 5-13 apply to the information as if it had been collected under APP 3.

There is no current IPP or NPP equivalent of APP 4.

APP 5 – Notification of collection of personal information

An APP entity collecting personal information must notify or make individuals from whom it is collecting information aware that it is doing so, either at or before the collection of a number of matters set out at APP 5.2. If that is not practicable, it must do so as soon as practicable after the collection. APP 5 is based on IPP 2 and NPP 1. The matters set out at APP 5.2 are generally matters currently listed in IPP 2 and NPP 1.

APP 6 – Use and disclosure of personal information

If an APP entity holds personal information about an individual that was collected for a particular purpose, the entity must not use or disclose it for another purpose unless:

  • the individual has consented to the use or disclosure; or
  • the use or disclosure of the information falls within the exceptions in APP 6.2 or 6.3.

APP 6 is based on IPP 10 and 11 and NPP 2. The exceptions at APP 6.2 and 6.3 are very similar to the exceptions set out at IPP 10 and 11 and NPP 2.

Next edition we'll look at the remaining APPs and, in particular, their effect on direct marketing.

You might also be interested in...

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.