Last week the OAIC released their consultation draft Guide to big data and the Australian Privacy Principles, with feedback on the Guide open until 26 July 2016.

The main purpose of the Guide is to facilitate big data activities while protecting personal information (being information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable). The Guide addresses issues such as notice and consent, retention minimisation and use limitation in regards to such data. Whilst not legally binding, the Guide will be referred to by the Privacy Commissioner in undertaking its functions under the Privacy Act.

One of the key aspects dealt with in the Guide is that entities should consider undertaking big data activities on an anonymised manner by de-identifying personal information. If so, this has the favourable outcome that such data will not be considered personal information so accordingly less onerous obligations apply under the Privacy Act to such data. Of course, if this is the case it also lessens the chance that personal information will be compromised should a data breach occur (speaking of which, we note OAIC’s April 2016 guide to deal with data breaches). However, in our experience most of our clients want to analyse and then drill down to take actions or campaigns in relation to a then identified group of customers.

The Guide also highlights how big data interacts with the APPs as well as discussing other related concepts, such as “privacy by design” frameworks. For more information, you can access the OAIC’s consultation draft Guide here.