What is personal information - checklist

Who should use this Guideline?

This Guideline will assist anyone who needs to determine if information is or is not personal information.

What is personal information?

Personal information1 is information or opinion...whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.

What is the test for whether information is personal information?2

Determining if information is personal information involves a two step process. Step one is to decide if the information identifies an individual. Step two is to decide if the information is about the individual.

The checklist in Appendix A (PDF, 49.91 KB) is a guide developed to assist in applying this test. It is important to remember, however, that decisions about whether information is personal information should be made on a case by case basis in the circumstances and context specific to each situation.

  • 1 Defined in section 12 of the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).
  • 2 The test is set out in Mahoney v Ipswich City Council (Unreported, Queensland Information Commissioner, 17 June 2011).
  • 3 WL v La Trobe University [2005] VCAT 2592.
  • 4 Mahoney, page 4. Also see OIC Guideline What is personal information?

Current as at: October 19, 2011