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debt collection and privacy disclosing information to third parties

Monday, August 25, 2014 - Posted by Michael McCulloch

Revisiting a 2011 Privacy Commissioner Case, M and Law Firm [2011] AICmrCN 7 (22 December 2011) the Commissioner rules on the disclosure of personal information to a 3rd party.

In this case, a complaint was made that a law firm had issued correspondence to the complainants neighbours to obtain new contact information of the complainant. Included in the contact letter sent to the neighbour was the branding of the law firm that stated one of its legal expertise areas was debt collection. 

This was decided under the NPP's;

NPP 2.1 provides that an organisation must not use or disclose personal information about an individual for a purpose other than the primary purpose of collection, unless an exception in NPP 2.1(a)–(h) applies.

NPP 2.1(a) permits the use or disclosure of personal information for a secondary purpose where that purpose is related to the primary purpose of collection, and the individual would reasonably expect the disclosure.

It was accepted by the commissioner that the law firm had disclosed personal information. The commissioner also accepted that the disclosure was consistent with the complainant reasonably expecting the disclosure under 2.1(a) in this circumstance, and that the law firm had not interfered with the privacy of the complainant.


Please note that the above is a  review and does not constitute legal advice.

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