Privacy Impact Statement relating to a Unique Student Identifier

Mark R. Diamond made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

The request was successful.

From: Mark R. Diamond

Delivered

FOI Coördinator
Legal Branch
GPO Box 9839
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear FOI Coördinator,

Request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
Privacy Impact Statement relating to a Unique Student Identifier
------------------------------------------------------------------

The Australian Government Tender System (http://www.austender.gov.au) reports contract CN1079802 between the Department of Industry and Minter Ellison Lawyers for the provision of "Privacy Impact Assessment for Unique Student Identifier".

I request access to a copy of the report of that assessment. I note that the contract report states that no confidentiality issues attached either to the contract itself or to the contract outputs.

If you require any further information regarding the documents I seek, please let me know. The electronic address at righttoknow.org.au that is associated with this email is the relevant address for the purposes of section 15(2)(c) of the FOI Act.

Yours faithfully,

Mark R. Diamond

Link to this

Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

Hi Mark, I'm not sure if you are aware but we automatically notify agencies that the RTK email address is valid under s15(2)(c).

Cheers,

Ben

Link to this

Mark R. Diamond left an annotation ()

No, I was not aware that departments were automatically notified about the validity of the righttoknow.org.au address.

If that is the case, then Steve Roddis (http://www.righttoknow.org.au/user/steve..., who made the application called "myGov Privacy Impact Assessment" (http://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/my..., and Ria Smit (http://www.righttoknow.org.au/user/ria_s... who made the application called "Age pensioners receiving the Work Bonus in tax year 2012-2013" (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/a... have no reason to accept the purportedly secure emails to which the Department of Human Services refers in its replies to them.

I can understand that in circumstances where an applicant seeks personal information, it is a considerate act on the part of the department to notify the applicant that an email containing their personal information would, potentially, be viewable by the whole world --- that being the case whether it is posted on Right To Know or merely sent as cleartext through a succession of email servers. The offer of the department to put the real reply on a secure server would make sense in those circumstances. But there is nothing in law that would require the applicant to accept the offer.

In the case of the two applications that I mention above, both applicants would have grounds for simply saying "I did not receive your email. You do not appear to have sent it to me. Please send it.". After all, the placement by the department onto its own secure server of a putative reply to the applicant, does not constitute a notice to the applicant under the FOI Act. Nor, so far as I can see, does it constitute the sending of a communication to an electronic address for the purposes of the Electronic Transactions Act---that act being relevant because s 6 binds the Crown in all its capacities.

I notice that that both of the applicants that I mentioned appear to have responded to the secure emails in the manner nominated by the department. There was no reason for them to do so.

Link to this

Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

Hi Mark,

The change to the email disclaimer was implemented about a month ago (see https://github.com/openaustralia/rightto... for details). It was originally designed to deal with agencies delaying requests under s15(2)(c) - see https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/f... as an example.

The 2 examples you've given were originally sent before we made the change. Considering RTK doesn't allow requests for personal information, I don't get why the Secure Mail system needs to be used at all (but that's my personal opinion).

Cheers,

Ben

Link to this

From: Freedom of Information
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science


Attachment Notice of Charge.pdf
140K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Diamond,

 

Please find attached correspondence in response to your Freedom of
Information request of 26 April 2014.

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI team

Legal Services Branch
Corporate Division

Department of Industry

Industry House Level 13
10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601
GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: [1][email address]
Internet: [2]http://www.industry.gov.au
ABN 74 599 608 295

 

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of
the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged
information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that
any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately
by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any
attachments

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]%0binternet
2. http://www.industry.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Mark R. Diamond

Delivered

FOI Coördinator
Legal Branch
GPO Box 9839
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear FOI Coördinator,

Request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
Your reference: DIISR 14/06073
-----------------------------------------------

I refer to the correspondence of 12 May 2014 from your Mr Jason Coutts outlining charges relating to the documents to which you believe I seek access.

I note that Mr Coutts states that the charge “is based on approximately 63 fokios falling with the scope of [my] request.” Although I might later seek to contend that the charge has been wrongly assessed (not, I hope, wrongfully, as you suggest!), at this stage, I merely wish to limit my request.

I expect that most of the documents in the 63 folios are not relevant to my request. If there was a final report of the privacy impact assessment, then it is to that single document that I wish to limit my request. Alternatively, I would appreciate your advice on an alternative limitation that would see a significant restriction in the scope of the documents down from 63 folios (Mr Coutts did not, for example, mention what those folios covered) to something very much smaller.

Yours sincerely,

Mark R. Diamond

Link to this

From: Freedom of Information
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science


Attachment Re Freedom of Information request SEC UNCLASSIFIED.txt
3K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Diamond,

 

We refer to your email (attached) of 25 May 2014. 

 

In your correspondence of 26 April 2014, you requested access under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 to "... a copy of the report of Privacy
Impact Assessment for Unique Student Identifier".

 

The final report of the Privacy Impact Assessment for the Unique Student
Identifier is 63 pages long.  The report is the only document that falls
within scope of your request. The charges set out in Mr Coutts’s letter
dated 12 May 2014 have been calculated on the number of pages of the
report and the third parties concerned to be consulted. 

 

As mentioned in Mr Coutts’s correspondence of 12 May 2014, if you would
like the department to continue processing your request, you must notify
the department in writing within 30 days of 12 May 2014 that you:

 

·         Agree to pay the charge;

·         Wish to contend that the charge:

o   has been wrongly assessed; or

o   should be reduced or not imposed; or

o   both; or

·         Withdraw the request for access.

 

As the 30 days statutory timeframe is fast approaching, please provide a
response at your earliest convenience but no later than 11 June 2014.

 

Should you have any further queries regarding this matter, please contact
the FOI team at [1][email address].

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI team

Legal Services Branch
Corporate Division

Department of Industry

Industry House Level 13
10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601
GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: [2][email address]
Internet: [3]http://www.industry.gov.au
ABN 74 599 608 295

 

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of
the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged
information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that
any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately
by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any
attachments

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]%0binternet
3. http://www.industry.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Mark R. Diamond

Delivered

FOI Coördinator
Legal Services Branch
GPO Box 9839
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear FOI Coördinator,

Request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
Your reference: DIISR 14/06073
--------------------------------------------------

I refer to the correspondence of 12 May 2014 from Mr Jason Coutts outlining charges in respect of my FOI request for access to the privacy impact statement relating to a unique student identifier.

Request for waiver of the charge
-----------------------------------–
I contend that the charge stated in the letter from Mr Coutts should be waived entirely on the grounds that the giving of access to the document in question is in the general public interest.

Supporting argument
-----------------------
First, the implementation of a unique student identifier would entail similar ramifications for personal privacy in respect of sensitive educational information as does the Medicare identifier in respect of sensitive health information or the Tax File Number in respect of employment and taxation (Tax File Number). While there are clear advantages, both to individuals and to the national interest in having each individual’s educational information linked by a unique student identifier, there are countervailing threats to personal privacy. No doubt that was the reason for the Department of Industry conducting a privacy impact assessment in the first place. Given that background, it is extraordinary that the Department has not already published the privacy impact assessment of its own volition. Nonetheless, giving access to the document under FOI would rectify the Department’s neglect, and serve the same public interest.

With regard to the question of whether giving access to the document would serve the interest of (at least) a substantial section of the public or of only a minor part, it is relevant that the class of people on whom the proposed unique student identifier would have an impact includes:
. all current and future students
. all guardians or parents of students, and
. all those who might undertake a course of study
in the future even if they are not now doing so.

It is on that basis that I suggest that your Department should decide not to impose any charge for access.

Yours sincerely,

Mark R. Diamond

Link to this

Karen Dearne left an annotation ()

Hi Mark, Some exploration of the issues in the Student Identifiers Bill 2014 by the Senate Standing Committee on the scrutiny of bills

Link to this

From: Freedom of Information
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science


Attachment Decision on Charge Mr Diamond.pdf
291K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Diamond,

Please find attached correspondence in response to your email below of 5 June 2014.

Kind regards,

FOI team
Legal Services Branch
Corporate Division

Department of Industry
Industry House Level 12
10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601 GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: [email address]
Internet: http://www.industry.gov.au
ABN 74 599 608 295

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any attachments

show quoted sections

Link to this

Mark R. Diamond left an annotation ()

The letter from the department states, in part, that "the document contains information that is already available in the public domain and will not add to the public record".

I was unable to find the information and telephoned the FOI contact officer who was kind enough to say that they will follow up the formal departmental response with a link to other relevant documents on the departmental website.

Once that has happened, I shall make a decision about whether or not to pay the charge.

I should add that I followed the implied suggestion by Karen Dearne in an earlier annotation to follow parliamentary enquiry relating to the identifier. The departmental submission to that enquiry was very interesting but did not provide quite the information that I seek.

Link to this

From: Freedom of Information
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Dear Mr Diamond

I refer to our telephone conversation earlier regarding the publicly available section of the "Privacy Impact Assessment Report for Unique Student Identifier". Please find the web link below for your reference.

http://www.industry.gov.au/skills/Regula...

Please do not hesitate to contact the FOI team if we can be of further assistance.

Kind regards,

FOI team
Legal Services Branch
Corporate Division

Department of Industry
Industry House Level 12
10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601 GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: [email address]
Internet: http://www.industry.gov.au
ABN 74 599 608 295

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any attachments

show quoted sections

Link to this

Mark R. Diamond left an annotation ()

Someone changed the status of this request to "delayed" but the "delayed" status implies, incorrectly, that the department should have done something sooner. The department has in fact met all its obligations.

The Department of Industry is now waiting for me to decide whether I wish to pay the imposed charge, request an internal review, or withdraw the request. On that basis, I have changed the status back again.

Link to this

Mark R. Diamond left an annotation ()

I have decided to pay the reduced charge, sent today.

Link to this

From: Freedom of Information
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science


Attachment Receipt Mark Diamond.pdf
116K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Diamond

 

Please find attached a copy of the receipt being the payment in full to
process the FOI request.

 

On 12 May 2014, the department notified you the need of third parties
consultation as your request covers documents that contain information
about the business affairs of certain organisations.  Given that
consultation with third parties is required, subsection15(6) of the FOI
Act extends the standard statutory 30-day time limit for processing
requests by another 30 days.  Accordingly, this will give the department
60 days within which to notify you of its decision on access to the
documents.

 

The department is due to provide a decision to you on or before 15 August
2014.

 

It is the department’s policy to provide any documents under FOI Act by
mail, could you please provide a mailing address by return email.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact the FOI team if you have any queries
regarding this matter.

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI team

Legal Services Branch
Corporate Division

Department of Industry

Industry House Level 12
10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601
GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: [1][email address]
Internet: [2]http://www.industry.gov.au
ABN 74 599 608 295

 

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of
the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged
information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that
any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately
by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any
attachments

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]%0binternet
2. http://www.industry.gov.au/

Link to this

From: Freedom of Information
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science


Attachment Decision Mr Diamond.pdf
95K Download View as HTML


 

Dear Mr Diamond

 

Please find attached correspondence in response to your Freedom of
Information request of 26 April 2014.

 

Further to our email below of 8 July 2014, the department has not received
your postal address. 

 

The documents will be sent by Express Post once we have received your
postal address.

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI team

Legal Services Branch
Corporate Division

Department of Industry

Industry House Level 12
10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601
GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: [1][email address]
Internet: [2]http://www.industry.gov.au
ABN 74 599 608 295

 

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of
the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged
information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that
any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately
by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any
attachments

 

 

From: Freedom of Information
Sent: Tuesday, 8 July 2014 9:31 AM
To: '[FOI #599 email]'
Subject: TRIM: A copy of the receipt [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

 

Dear Mr Diamond

 

Please find attached a copy of the receipt being the payment in full to
process the FOI request.

 

On 12 May 2014, the department notified you the need of third parties
consultation as your request covers documents that contain information
about the business affairs of certain organisations.  Given that
consultation with third parties is required, subsection15(6) of the FOI
Act extends the standard statutory 30-day time limit for processing
requests by another 30 days.  Accordingly, this will give the department
60 days within which to notify you of its decision on access to the
documents.

 

The department is due to provide a decision to you on or before 15 August
2014.

 

It is the department’s policy to provide any documents under FOI Act by
mail, could you please provide a mailing address by return email.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact the FOI team if you have any queries
regarding this matter.

 

Kind regards,

 

FOI team

Legal Services Branch
Corporate Division

Department of Industry

Industry House Level 12
10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601
GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: [3][email address]
Internet: [4]http://www.industry.gov.au
ABN 74 599 608 295

 

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of
the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged
information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that
any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately
by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any
attachments

 

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]%0binternet
2. http://www.industry.gov.au/
3. mailto:[email address]%0binternet
4. http://www.industry.gov.au/

Link to this

Ben Fairless left an annotation ()

The Department has the ability to upload the files directly to Right to Know if email isn't an option. You can ask them to contact us (contact@righttoknow.org.au) if they want help doing this.

Cheers,

Ben

Link to this

From: Mark R. Diamond

Delivered

FOI Coördinator
Legal Services Branch
GPO Box 9839
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear FOI Coördinator,

Request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
Your reference: DIISR 14/06073
--------------------------------------------------

Thank you for the recent email from your team and for the attached decision letter from Mr Jason Coutts. Thank you also for the decision to release the requested document in full.

In the letter from Mr Coutts, he asks that I provide a postal address for delivery of the document by express post. I would prefer that the document be delivered electronically. I think that the multifunction devices that you have available are capable of scanning at 600 dpi which would make for a very readable electronic copy. If it is not possible to deliver the copy by email to the address that you have been using, then I would be most grateful if you would have a look at the information provided at the link:
https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

Please let me know if you have any difficulty with uploading the file. I am only trying to avoid double-handling of the file where you send me a hard copy which I then have to scan!

Once again, I very much appreciate the relatively speedy and easy decision.

Yours faithfully,
Mark R. Diamond

Link to this

From: Freedom of Information
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science


Attachment Decision Mr Diamond.pdf
95K Download View as HTML

Attachment Privacy Impact Assessment Report USI Released under FOI Act.pdf
3.2M Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Diamond

Further to your email below requesting the department to provide a copy of the documents released under the FOI Act by email.

Please find attached a copy of the decision together with the documents in response to your FOI request of 26 April 2014.

Kind regards

FOI team
Legal Services Branch
Corporate Division

Department of Industry
Industry House Level 12
10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601 GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: [email address]
Internet: http://www.industry.gov.au
ABN 74 599 608 295

Legal In Confidence - This transmission is intended only for the use of the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please notify me immediately by telephone and delete copies of this transmission together with any attachments

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Mark R. Diamond

Delivered

FOI Team
Legal Services Branch
GPO Box 9839
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear FOI Team,

Request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
Your reference: DIISR 14/06073
--------------------------------------------------

Thank you. Thank you all!

Yours faithfully,
Mark R. Diamond

Link to this

Mark R. Diamond left an annotation ()

The Student Identifiers Act 2014 (Cth) was assented to on 25 June 2014 with the main body of the Act coming into force on 27 June 2014. There remains once significant section that does not come into force until the beginning of 2015, namely section 53.

That section prohibits a registered training organization from issuing a VET qualification or a VET statement to on person unless the person has been assigned a student identifier under the Act.

As with many of the examples of requests that appear on Right to Know, the information that is released might have contributed significantly to public debate had it been available at a time when it might have influenced public policy and Commonwealth legislation. In the event, a part of the report was made available but, in my view, was insufficient to inform any real debate on the matter, notwithstanding that there was an enquiry into it.

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science only: