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ANZLIC The Spatial Information Council
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privacy guidelines

spatial information and privacy

Technological developments that have enabled government agencies to make public sector spatial information more widely available, cheaper to access, and of better quality; have also fuelled concerns about privacy.

These concerns are not directed at the handling of spatial information in particular — surveys of community attitudes show widespread anxiety about the general impact of technology on all areas of our lives. ANZLIC recognised the trend in 1992, when it produced its first privacy issues discussion paper. Now privacy laws and rules are established features of the environment within which the spatial information industry operates — not just nationally, but internationally as well.

There are two fundamental risks to privacy associated with improvements to the access and usability of public sector spatial information.

  1. the risk that personal information collected in land dealings, property transactions, and land regulation and administration can be used for purposes that are unrelated to the purpose for which it was originally provided; and
  2. the risk that spatial information containing no personal information can be manipulated and combined with other information to reveal details about an identifiable individual.

ANZLIC, with assistance from all its member jurisdictions and feedback through a public consultation process, has reviewed and released updated guidelines for privacy relating to spatial information (links to the guideline and discussion paper are provided below).

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