Information on considerably delayed Privacy Complaints & IC Reviews

Verity Pane made this Freedom of Information request to Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The request was refused by Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

This FOI request is a follow-up to a previous FOI request made https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/c...

Having had the opportunity to since fully review and analyse the data previously provided, I now seek some additional information about a subset of the statistical information previously provided (that wasn't broken down enough to allow for sufficient transparency), to provide some insight into chronically delayed Privacy Complaint & IC Review Decisions, and whether the OAIC has any formal policy surrounding such chronically delayed cases.

Under s 17 of the Freedom of Information Act, agencies holding information in its information systems are required to provide that information in discrete form, if requested. The OAIC holds the information requested in its information systems, and has demonstrated previously that it can provide it in discrete form, without suffering a substantial and unreasonable diversion of resources.

In the aged privacy complaints statistics run by Ryan McConville of the OAIC, as at 21 Dec 2016, at 10:35am, the OAIC reported that there were 2,122 open privacy complaints aged 361 days old or greater. Of these 2,122 then open privacy complaints referred to, the OAIC stated that 2,090 of those open privacy complaints related to two class action/multiple complainants complaints.

This left 32 conventional privacy complaints aged 361 days or older open at as 21 Dec 2016.

Of those 32 privacy complaints, how many are still open and yet to be resolved, and for each one, how many days have they been open. (As previously stated, the OAIC case number and other information is irrevelant to this request, just the number of days and outcome - if any yet - are the only de-identified data sort)

If any of those 32 privacy complaints have since been closed, can you provide the number of days, for each one, those complaints were open, before being closed, and the case outcome recorded (i.e. withdrawn, determination issued, adequately dealt with, etc)

In the aged IC review statistics run by Ryan McConville of the OAIC, as at 13 Dec 2016, at 11:33pm, the OAIC reported that there were 18 open IC reviews aged 360 days old or greater.

Of those 18 IC reviews, how many are still open and yet to be resolved, and for each one, how many days have they been open.

If any of those 18 IC reviews have since been closed, can you provide the number of days, for each one, those IC reviews were open, before being closed, and the IC Decision outcome recorded (i.e. affirmed, withdrawn, set aside by agreement, etc).

I also request copy of any formal policy the OAIC may have, with respect to any review procedure it may have, to any privacy complaint or IC review that remains open for an extended timeframe (such as a year) - for example, requiring review by a senior officer or some other process, to investigate why the matter has not been dealt with in a reasonable timeframe - if any such formal policy exists. It seems reasonable such a policy may exist, given the OAIC routinely runs ageing reports on open privacy complaints and IC reviews (although, it doesn't seem to break out those complaints/reviews falling over 360 days any further - which either suggests it is very unusual for a complaint/review to exceed this timeframe, or reflects some limitation in the statistics software used).

Irrelevant information such as OAIC case numbers or other data is not required, just the specifics of days open and outcomes for those closed, for the specific data mentioned. Any policy document falling within the scope of this FOI request may also redact information not related to internal review mechanisms for significantly aged complaints/reviews.

Thank you for your assistance. Such information will help inform debate, and provide transparency, on the OAIC's activities (and inform advocacy), and no doubt compliment other forthcoming reports that intersect in tangential ways some of these matters, such as the soon to be tabled ANAO report. While I think the information sought is clearly outlined, if you need further clarification I am happy to elucidate further.

Yours faithfully,

Verity Pane

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From: Amanda Nowland
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Our reference: FOIREQ17/00018

By email: Verity Pane <[FOI #3277 email]>

Dear Ms Pane,

Freedom of Information Request

I refer to your request for access to documents under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 related to Privacy complaint and IC Review statistics
provided to you in December 2016.. I have taken your request to be for:

 

1.       Reports that show the status of the 32 conventional privacy
complaints aged 361 days or older open as at 21 December 2016 (as in the
report run by the OAIC and provided to you previously). Including the
following information:

a.       How many are still open and yet to be resolved

b.       For each one, how many days have they been open

c.       For any that have been closed, the number of days each one was
open and the case outcome recorded

2.       Reports that show the status of the 18 IC Reviews aged 360 days
or older open as at 13 December 2016 (as in the report run by the OAIC and
provided to you previously). Including the following information:

a.       How many are still open and yet to be resolved

b.       For each one, how many days have they been open

c.       For any that have been closed, the number of days each one was
open and the IC Decision outcome recorded

3.       Any formal policy the OAIC may have, with respect to any review
procedure it may have, to any privacy complaint or IC Review that remains
open for an extended timeframe (such as a year), if any formal policy
exists.

 

You have agreed to exclude, from your request, the OAIC case numbers and
other identifying information.

 

We received your request on 23 March 2017 and the 30 day statutory period
for processing your request commenced from the day after that date. You
should therefore expect a decision from us b by 24 April 2017. The period
of 30 days may be extended if we need to consult third parties or for
other reasons. We will advise you if this happens.

 

We will contact you using the email address you provided. Please advise if
you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

 

Regards,

 

 

Amanda Nowland | Assistant Director | Freedom of Information Dispute
Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

GPO Box 5128 SYDNEY NSW 2001| [1]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9646 | E-mail: [2][email address]

Please note, I work Monday - Wednesday

 

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From: Raewyn Harlock
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner


Attachment image001.jpg
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Attachment FOIREQ17 00018 FOI Decision 21.4.17.pdf
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Dear Ms Pane

 

Please find attached the decision in relation to your FOI request of 23
March 2017.

 

Regards

 

 

Raewyn Harlock | Assistant Director | FOI Dispute Resolution

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001 | [1]www.oaic.gov.au

Phone:  +61 2 9284 9802 | Email: [2][email address]

 

[3]Privacy.jpg

 

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's handling of my FOI request 'Information on considerably delayed Privacy Complaints & IC Reviews'.

The FOI request made was refused on the grounds that "The report released to you in December contained no case numbers to identify which cases were open longer than 360 days on the date of the report... The OAIC is unable to reproduce this report now to identify the specific cases open longer than 360 days in December 2016 and therefore to determine their current status"

While it is true that the case numbers on that report were manually removed on the copy of the report provided to me under FOI (as I consented to their removal), the original report that the OAIC ran did include them. The OAIC retained the original unmodified report, which does have the case numbers, and despite the claims made by the OAIC, can provide the information requested.

It is disappointing that the OAIC have misrepresented the facts here, not because it is unable to provide the information requested, but simply because it chooses to unlawfully prevent its release.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

Verity Pane

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Verity Pane left an annotation ()

Rather appalling that the OAIC, which intended from the outset to refuse to supply the information requested (even though it had no valid exemption to do so, but claimed one in bad faith misrepresentation), used the full statutory response period before giving its refusal (the 30 day period is intended for searching and clearing documents, not for the unlawful purposes of stonewalling, and is an abuse of the objects and aims of the Act, given the OAIC knew it intended to refuse much earlier).

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to add an addendum to myrequest an internal review of Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's handling of my FOI request 'Information on considerably delayed Privacy Complaints & IC Reviews'.

The decision letter claims the OAIC has no record of the case numbers in the report produced, that further information was sought on (even though the case number column clearly exists in those documents, with the case numbers manually edited out on the copy supplied), therefore it claims the information requested cannot be produced.

The FOI decision letter that came with the original report however clearly indicates that the original of that report, which was retained by the OAIC and the delegate, was produced with the case numbers and was manually removed in a copy of the report produced for FOI disclosure.

The delegate stated:
"Section 22 of the FOI Act provides that where an agency decides that it is it is possible for the agency to prepare an edited copy of a document, modified by deletions to remove exempt and irrelevant material, and it is reasonably practicable to do so, the agency must prepare the edited copy and give the applicant access to the edited copy..."

"I have decided to prepare and give you access to an edited copy..."

"Section 47F of the FOI Act provides that a document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure would involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information about any person. The documents contain individual case numbers which could, if combined with other available information or if already known, identify individual privacy complainants and IC review applicants..."

"For this reason, I am satisfied that disclosing OAIC case numbers would unreasonably disclose personal information..."

The OAIC retained the unedited report, as is required by the Archives Act, and it would be part of the FOI decision file. It is therefore deeply misleading to claim the OAIC does not have access to the case file numbers in question, and the fact the OAIC has made this claim in complete bad faith is appalling, not to mention unlawful.

It was not the case the report was run without case file numbers, as the report setup does not allow for this. A copy of the original report run was made and those case file numbers were manually removed in that copy (but not the original).

Please show the ethical leadership you are supposed to on FOI, and not engage in further fraud.

Yours faithfully,

Verity Pane

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From: Kenneth Richards
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Our reference: FOIREQ17/00024
By email: [FOI #3277 email]

Dear Ms Pane

Freedom of Information Request - Internal Review

I refer to your application for internal review of an Office of the Australian Information Commissioner decision in relation to your FOI request 'Information on considerably delayed Privacy Complaints & IC Reviews'.

The OAIC received your application for internal review on 21 April 2017 and the 30 day statutory period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date. You should therefore expect a decision from us by 19 May 2017.

We will contact you using the email address you provided. Please advise if you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

Kind Regards,

Ken Richards | Assistant Director | FOI Dispute Resolution
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000
GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001| www.oaic.gov.au
Phone: +61 2 9284 9894
Email: [email address]

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From: Kenneth Richards
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner


Attachment FOIREQ17 00024 Pane Internal Review 22 May 2017.pdf
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Dear Ms Pane,

Please find attached my decision on your internal review request.

Kind regards

Ken Richards | Assistant Director | FOI Dispute Resolution
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000
GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001| www.oaic.gov.au
Phone: +61 2 9284 9894
Email: [email address]

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Verity Pane left an annotation ()

Yet again the OAIC intentionally misrepresent and mislead, hand waving at glaring inconsistencies with their fraudulent claims. Such intentional opaqueness regarding the massive inefficiencies (the OAIC prefers to maintain the fiction of its grossly misleading Annual Report statistics, which hide its real performance metrics by mashing the vast bulk of complaints the OAIC summarily dismiss without doing anything more than token work on them, with those that actually manage to get through to the "investigations" or "conciliation" stage, which consistently suffer massive delays, despite very insubstantial work at either by the OAIC) is intentional, even if they have to make a mockery of the FOI Act and it's objects and aims.

It is very disappointing that an agency that is supposed to be setting the standard for FOI routinely shows very poor leadership indeed. Some FOI responses met a reasonable standard, others demonstrate an appalling lack of ethics and honesty - unfortunately this FOI is one of those. The OAIC is unfortunately demonstrating it is more spin than substance.

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From: Verity Pane

Delivered

Dear Kenneth Richards,

You claim the reporting system cannot generate the information requested for those privacy complaints exceeding 360 days, yet this is contradicted by another report produced by the OAIC for a seperate FOI https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/3...

I am very disappointed in your appalling misrepresentation and dishonesty here.

Yours sincerely,

Verity Pane

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