National COVID-19 Privacy Principles released

September 15, 2021 - 8:34am

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and state and territory privacy commissioners and ombudsmen recently released National COVID-19 Privacy Principles to support a nationally consistent approach to solutions and initiatives designed to address the ongoing risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This may include, for example, QR codes, vaccination certificates or any future proposal with privacy impacts.

These high-level principles provide a framework to guide a best practice approach to the handling of personal information during the pandemic by business and government.  In brief, the principles seek to minimise personal information collected to the amount necessary to achieve a legitimate purpose, limit secondary use, ensure personal information is kept secure and protected from unauthorised use, disclosure and loss, deleted when no longer required, and protected by law.

The principles also serve as an important reminder for Queensland Government agencies to build privacy protections into initiatives that require the collection of personal information at the start.  Privacy and the protection of their personal information remains a concern for many members of the community.  A nationally consistent approach to personal information handling requirements, such as those contained in health directives, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will provide greater certainty to the community, maintaining the trust of the community.

Australian privacy regulators will continue to work together on privacy issues with national implications to provide consistent advice and guidance.  OIC remains available to provide guidance and support to Queensland Government agencies in building a privacy-by-design approach into the COVID-19 pandemic response.