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External Dispute Resolution schemes to deal with Privacy Complaints

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - Posted by Philip Harvey

The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 amends the Privacy Act 1998, giving the Information Commissioner (previously the Privacy Commissioner) the discretion to recognise EDR schemes to handle privacy-related complaints (s35A which is below).

The Information Commissioner has the discretion to decide not to investigate further if satisfied that it is being dealt with by a recognised EDR scheme or would be more effectively / appropriately dealt with by a recognised EDR scheme.

A credit provider must be a member of a recognised EDR scheme to participate in the credit reporting system.

In its AGM to be held in November, COSL is proposing to amend its constitution in order to meet the requirements of the Information Commissioner in this area.

35A Commissioner may recognise external dispute resolution schemes

             (1)  The Commissioner may, by written notice, recognise an external dispute resolution scheme:

                     (a)  for an entity or a class of entities; or

                     (b)  for a specified purpose.

             (2)  In considering whether to recognise an external dispute resolution scheme, the Commissioner must take the following matters into account:

                     (a)  the accessibility of the scheme;

                     (b)  the independence of the scheme;

                     (c)  the fairness of the scheme;

                     (d)  the accountability of the scheme;

                     (e)  the efficiency of the scheme;

                      (f)  the effectiveness of the scheme;

                     (g)  any other matter the Commissioner considers relevant.

             (3)  The Commissioner may:

                     (a)  specify a period for which the recognition of an external dispute resolution scheme is in force; and

                     (b)  make the recognition of an external dispute resolution scheme subject to specified conditions, including conditions relating to the conduct of an  independent review of the operation of the scheme; and

                     (c)  vary or revoke:

                              (i)  the recognition of an external dispute resolution scheme; or

                             (ii)  the period for which the recognition is in force; or

                            (iii)  a condition to which the recognition is subject.



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