Here at Reverse Australia, we do what we can to honor any requests for privacy we receive from Australian consumers, while letting them freely leave comments about unwanted phone calls and Australian businesses. Regardless, the occasional person will find out site, overreact, and contact the Privacy Commissioner to file a complaint, without first sending us an email to request removal. Back in January 2011 the Office of the Australian Information Commisioner started an Own Motion investigation into Reverse Australia to determine if or how much the Privacy Act 1988 or the National Privacy Principles (NPP’s) apply to our operations.
The investigation resulted in a number of lengthy emails being exchanged several months apart from each other. We’re happy to announce the investigation is over, and we’ve received the following response:
Dear Mr Campbell
Own Motion Investigation into ReverseAustralia.com
I refer to the above investigation opened under section 40(2) of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act).
Thank you for your emails dated 15 January 2011, 11 February 2011 and 23 September 2011 regarding this matter.
The Privacy Act regulates how Australian Commonwealth agencies and many private sector organisations in Australia manage personal information. However, it has limited extra territorial application. An organisation is required to comply with the Privacy Act if it has an organisational link with Australia or the personal information is collected, used, stored and disclosed in Australia.
The original focus of this investigation was to establish whether ReverseAustralia.com falls under the Privacy Act’s jurisdiction. Section 5B of the Act prescribes that an act or practice engaged in outside Australia will be covered by the Act if that act or practice relates to personal information about an Australian citizen and certain other conditions are met in terms of the organisation responsible for that act or practice.
Other relevant factors include that the organisation in question carries on business in Australia or an external Territory, and the degree of control that overseas organisation is entitled to exercise, and does exercise, over the running of the business conducted by any subsidiary or representative in Australia. In your correspondence you advise that ReverseAustralia.com does not have any physical presence in Australia. You also indicate that all of ReverseAustralia.com’s infrastructure and employees reside in the United States of America.
From your correspondence is it apparent that ReverseAustralia.com does not conduct any functions or activities in Australia and does not carry on business in Australia. I am therefore of the view that ReverseAustralia.com does not meet the requirements of section 5B, and therefore falls outside the jurisdiction of the Privacy Act.
Consequently, I do not propose to investigate this matter any further.
My file on this matter is now closed.
I would like to thank you for your assistance during this investigation. Yours sincerely
Assistant Co missioner, Compliance
2 December 2011