Frequently asked questions
- Why is privacy legislation important to me?
- Who is protected by privacy laws?
- Can UOW provide my personal information to family members or close friends?
- Is UOW permitted to provide information about me to the police?
- Do I have a right to know why UOW needs certain information about me?
- Can I access the personal information that UOW holds about me?
- Can UOW staff take photos or images of me and use them for marketing purposes on the UOW website?
- Can UOW provide recruitment agencies with details of a students' academic results?
Privacy laws aim to give you a degree of control over the way your personal information (including your health information) is handled by certain organisations. UOW is legally required to abide by the principles of NSW Privacy laws, which place obligations on the way your personal information is collected, stored, used and released. This means that UOW must be transparent and accountable in how it handles your personal information.
Privacy laws apply to all individuals regardless of their age. This includes all staff, students and members of the public who interact with and provide their personal or health information to UOW. In most instances UOW will deal directly with you unless it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so. In limited circumstances an authorised third party may act on your behalf. Example: The legal guardian of a 17 year old staff member or student will not have any rights to act on the staff or student’s behalf unless they have provided an authority for UOW to deal with the legal guardian on their behalf.
Under NSW Privacy laws, UOW is not permitted to disclose your personal information to family members or close friends unless you have provided consent or there is a lawful reason for UOW to provide your information to others.
Specific consent must be in the form of written, signed consent, clearly identifying the information that can be disclosed and to whom it can be disclosed.
Student example: If a parent has decided to help out their son/daughter by paying off some of their University fees, UOW will not be able to provide the parent with any details about the fees outstanding unless the son/daughter has provided consent or an authority for UOW to do so. Staff example: If a staff member’s spouse contacts the University and requests details of the staff member’s pay deductions, UOW will not be able to provide any information unless the staff member has provided consent or an authority for UOW to do so.
Under NSW Privacy laws UOW is not permitted to disclose your personal information unless you have provided consent or there is a lawful reason for us to provide your information to others. Exemptions within NSW Privacy laws allow for the disclosure of personal information for particular law enforcement matters, or where it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of any person.
Example: UOW is permitted to disclose personal information to Police if the disclosure is required to ascertain the whereabouts of a staff member or student reported to Police as missing or it is necessary in order to assist Police in the investigation or proceedings for an offence.
Any requests from Police for information held by UOW should be directed to UOW's Manager, Information Compliance or UOW Security.
When UOW collects your personal information, it must ensure that you are made aware of the reasons that the information is required, what will be done with it and who else might see it.You must also be informed how you can view and correct your personal information and any consequences if you don’t provide the information.
Student example: During the application and enrolment process, students are provided with details of the various ways in which UOW may use and/or disclose their personal information for certain purposes. They are also given details of how they can request access to or seek amendments to their personal information. Students are required to provide their consent for these various uses of their personal information by UOW at enrolment.
Staff example: Prospective and current staff are provided with details of the types of information that UOW requires in order to process their application and manage their employment, how that information is held and used by UOW, circumstances where it may be disclosed and details of how the employee can access his/her record. Staff provide their acknowledgment of the various ways that UOW will manage their personal information as part of their employment ‘Acceptance of Offer’.
Yes. You have the right to access your personal information and to ask for corrections or amendments to be made where necessary. Staff who wish to obtain access to their staff records should contact the HR Division on (02)4221 5902.
Higher degree research (HDR) students who wish to obtain access to their personal records should contact the Graduate Research School.
All other enquiries can be made by contacting UOW's Manager, Information Compliance.
Access to personal information held by UOW can also be made under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA).
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commission has published a fact sheet on how to access personal information under both Privacy and GIPA legislation. If you have any questions about the most appropriate method to use, contact UOW’s Information Compliance Officer.
Your photo (or an image of you) is considered personal information if you can be reasonably identified.
Under NSW Privacy laws you have a right to be informed that your photo is being taken, how the photo will be used and where it will be published. All efforts should be made to obtain your explicit consent before taking your photo. Where it is impracticable to obtain consent (such as at large events), sufficient notification should be given (such as signs or announcements) so that you are aware that images are being recorded or photos are being taken and how they will be used. You then have a choice whether to be in the area where photos/images are being taken or not.
Under NSW Privacy laws UOW is not permitted to disclose an individual’s personal information unless the individual has provided consent or there is a lawful reason for us to provide the personal information to others.
Where a Recruitment Agency contacts UOW to verify or obtain details of a student’s academic achievements (whether or not the student is a current or past student), UOW will not provide any details unless a recent written, signed consent authorising UOW to provide specific details to the relevant Recruitment Agency is provided to UOW.