Call for more transparency when it comes to information

Australia and New Zealand's private and public sectors are being urged to be more transparent. 

An open letter has been signed by information access commissioners and Ombudsmen from both countries. 

The letter calls for more public access to information about themselves. 

"Each year, about 60 percent of the complaints my office receives are from people being denied access to their personal information," said Privacy Commissioner John Edwards. 

"For instance, organisations have an obligation to respond to a request within 20 working days. Requests for personal information can also involve emails, text messages, camera footage or even the memory recall of a conversation."

The office of the Ombudsman says it's becoming increasingly important as Government services go digital. It urges Governments to take advantage of the digital age to provide more information to the community. 

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has provided a tool which makes it easy to request information from "any organisation, business or Government agency in New Zealand"

The letter, signed by Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier and several state equivalents from Australia, marks International Right to Know Day. 

"The Privacy Act gives people an important human right to know the basis for decisions that are being made about them by organisations. It gives individuals an essential way to find out what is known about them and to be able to take control of their privacy," said Edwards. 

International Right to Know Day was first marked in 2002, and adopted by the UN as Access to Information Day in 2016.



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