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Destroy personal information

posted Jun 17, 2014, 5:09 PM by Jake Vosloo
According to the Australian Privacy Policies (APP 11) entities must destroy or de-identify information when it no longer needs that information for a purpose that is permitted under the APPs.

Now I wonder if it is possible for an individual to cause their personal information to be destroyed under this principle. 


11.25 Where an organisation ‘holds’ personal information it no longer needs for a purpose that is permitted under the APPs, it must ensure that it takes reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify the personal information. This obligation applies even where the organisation does not physically possess the personal information, but has the right or power to deal with it. ‘Holds’ is discussed in more detail in paragraphs 11.4–11.6 above and Chapter B (Key concepts).

11.26 Where an organisation holds personal information that needs to be destroyed or de-identified, it must take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify all copies it holds of that personal information, including copies that have been archived or are held as back-ups.

11.27 An organisation should have practices, procedures and systems in place to identify personal information that needs to be destroyed or de-identified (see APP 1.2, Chapter 1).

APP 11 requires agencies to take reasonable steps to protect information from 
interference, in addition to protection against misuse, loss, and from unauthorised 
access, modification or disclosure. 
Unlike IPP 4, APP 11 contains no obligation for an agency to protect information disclosed 
to third parties providing services to the agency. The only equivalent provision under the 
APPs is in APP 8, where an agency that discloses personal information to an overseas 
recipient, must take reasonable steps to ensure that the overseas recipient does not 
breach the APPs in relation to the information. APP 8 is discussed further under IPP 10 
and 11. 
Under APP 11, agencies must take reasonable steps to de-identify or destroy personal 
information if: 
• it is no longer needed for any purpose for which the information may be used or 
disclosed under the APPs 
• the information is not contained in a Commonwealth record, and 
• the agency is not required by or under an Australian law or a court/tribunal order, 
retain the information.10 
No such express obligation exists in the IPPs.