MKG-newPrivacy protection seems to be one of the new sexy terms that pops up in all walks of life.  In my experience it seems to be an excuse for somebody or some organisation not providing information requested, but perhaps I am just a cynic.

Privacy laws sound wonderful and large organisations are eager to tell you how protected you are and attach a copy of their privacy policy.  Unfortunately when the shoe is on the other foot, this is far from the case.

A recent matter involved a lady, who we will call Jane.  Jane was struck by a motor car and completed a claim form.  All claim forms just above where it needs to be signed, have an authority allowing ‘relevant’ companies to obtain information.  This could allow the insurance company the ability to obtain information from all manner of people including doctors, hospitals, police etc. The claim form and the authority are one and the same document. Although the word relevant has been inserted into more recent authorities such authorities generally disclose a lot of irrelevant information.  What one person considers as irrelevant, a lot of other people consider imperative.

Back to Jane.  Although having signed the authority, she was most concerned that the insurance company could access all of her private details which were unrelated to the claim and she filed an application with Federal Privacy Commission Office.  The Federal Privacy Commissioner’s primary role is to consider complaints.  Only very rarely do they make determinations.  Up until 2010, in the six years prior, the Federal Privacy Commission had yet to make a determination only assisting in conciliating matters.  This would appear to make a mockery of these privacy laws and the so called protection of individuals and has not given Jane any satisfaction.

The other point to note is that even if the Commission did make a determination, it is not binding on either party.

People should also realise that individuals should take others privacy seriously and if an employee breaches another person’s privacy it will often lead to instant dismissal.

A persons privacy is of the utmost importance and although a Federal Privacy Commission might be a good start, it would appear to lack the teeth that can make any real difference.  At Everingham Solomons we have the experience and expertise to assist you because Helping You is Our Business.

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