Access to personal information Law, National Privacy Principle 6.1 and 6.7, Schedule 3 Privacy Act 1988: S and Telecommunication Company [2011] AICmrCN 13 (22 December 2011)

January 12, 2012 |

In S and Telecommunication Company the Information Commissioner considered the operation of NPP 6.1 and 6.7.


As with all determinations and case notes the facts are, at best, sketchy.  The complainant attempted to access personal information held by a telecommunication company, which they believed included correspondence to a law enforcement agency. The telecommunication company relied on its internal privacy policy and denied access. The telecommunication company quoted exceptions under NPP 6.

The relevant exceptions are 6.1 and 6.7

NPP 6.1(j) permits an organisation to deny access to an individual when this would prejudice activities being carried out by, or on behalf of, an enforcement body. These activities include the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences, breaches of a law imposing a penalty or sanction or breaches of a prescribed law.

NPP 6.7 requires an organisation to give an individual its reasons for denying access or refusing to correct personal information.


The telecommunication company in relying on NPP 6.1(j) to deny the complainant access  claimed access would reveal strategy and procedures employed in law enforcement.

The Commissioner found that the telecommunication company could rely on the NPP 6.1(j) exception. It was not obligated to reveal whether it possessed records from a law enforcement agency, as such actions would prejudice the law enforcement activities of the agency. The Commissioner considered if law enforcement processes were revealed to the complainant this would prejudice activities carried out by the enforcement body.

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